Only the oldest residents of Doniphan county will be able to recall the strenuous effort made in 1856-7 toward establishing a Boarding School in Burr Oak. The Presbyterians at Highland having turned their Mission into a school of higher education, the Methodists, not to be outdone, determined to found a college of their own.
The chief promotor of the ambitious project was a clergyman who had recently come to the territory from another state, and who, having canvassed the entire East and West, finally concluded to go over to Boston, a town on the east bank of the Missouri, seven miles from Columbus.
The place being generally regarded as a harbor for abolitionists of the blackest dye, the preacher was encouraged to believe that the people if given an opportunity would subscribe liberally toward the support of any institution where the doctrine of Free Soil was made special feature of the curriculum, and accordingly, he wrote to a friend living there, for permission to hold a mid-week service at his house.
A large proportion of the inhabitants of Boston led a hand-to-mouth existence and could not pay one penny toward a home enterprise, if the fate of the town had depended on it, while there was another and equally unfortunate class that unblushingly took pen in hand and made their characteristic mark whenever required to sign a document of any kind. However, the preacher appeared at the appointed time. Pro-slavery young men from neighboring farms had already displayed a keen interest in the welfare of Bleeding Kansas by having crossed the Missouri and voted at the first balloting precinct they came to, while two or three of them had won distinction among their friends by having taken part in the Black Jack fight.
These young men, or nearly all of them, were present at the meeting, while the preacher, who might have rivalled the illustrious Bishop McCabe in his persuasive ability, gave a stirring discourse, inspired, no doubt, by the thought of a nice fat collection. But alas! as the hat was about to be passed, the Missourians, who, by the way, mainly comprised the audience, finding that they were not needed, quietly arose and filed out, leaving the poor Free-Soiler and his family alone to swell the Doniphan County Educational fund from their scanty savings.
This sketch was prepared by Missionary S. M. Irvin, of Highland, Kansas, in 1882, for Andreas' History of Kansas. For some reason it did not appear in that work, but as it is of interest to Doniphan County people, we are glad to offer it to our readers. Coining from Mr. Irvin's pen, it may be relied upon as veritable history. It is said that the bones of this eccentric man lie buried on the site of the old Mission graveyard, under a barn on the farm.
"Early in the summer of 1852 at the Iowa and Sac Missions, there walked into one of the halls of the Mission house, a tall, stout and bold looking man, roughly dressed, and carrying on his back, wrapped in a blanket, a nice little girl, seven or eight years old. 'My name,' said he, 'is Thomas Jefferson Southerland. I am known as General Southerland, and connected somewhat with the burning of the Caroline, on the Canadian border, in 1837. I was a prisoner, under the British authorities for more than three months; they intended to hang me, and erected a gallows in sight of my prison window. But upon my trial by court martial I was allowed to defend my own case, and they detected in me a military man, and for this or some other reason they let me go.'
"This was, in fact, all we ever knew, true or false, of who the man was. In regard to the little girl he carried with him: 'This,' said he, is not my child. She is adopted. Nor do I know who she is. I am a phrenologist, and in cholera times was travelling on the Mississippi in a steamboat, and happened to see a widow travelling with three little girls. My skill in phrenology enabled me to see that the mother had but little love and affection for her children, and that this one was a very intellectual child, and would make a good teacher. I asked her if she would give this little girl to me. She at once said: 'Yes, you can have her.' I took and adopted her and her name is Viola Southerland.'
"The object of his mission was, he said, to make arrangements to leave the little girl a few days at the Mission, until he, with two other men, who were in company with him, and who were in camp near, would explore this portion of the Indian Territory, he went on to argue that the government had no right to keep those lands, west of the Indian Reservation to exclusively for the Indians; that military restrictions should be removed; that they were settling the Pacific coast with impunity, and that he was going to test it here, or out some distance from the Missouri river, if the country pleased him, etc.
"He left the girl, and after an absence of about three weeks, returned, greatly delighted with his trip, and confident that west of the Iowa and Kickapoo reserves, there was one of the most beautiful and most productive countries. His resolution was formed to organize a colony of young men, and to go at once and possess some part of this inviting field. He still wanted to leave his little girl at the Mission until he could return with his colony. This was agreed to and the General left for Missouri.
"In about three months two covered wagons were driven up to the Mission. We were soon informed that it was General Southerland's outfit, destined for a new settlement, west of the Indian reserves, but that the General himself was in one of the wagons, very sick, he was brought into the Mission, and was well cared for, but his mind was gone, and he never rallied. A few days of unconscious existence ended his career. He was evidently a man of intellect and will, and may have had considerable scholarly attainments. In his trunk was found a large quantity of manuscript, made up of biography, history and poetry. Most of it was seemingly prepared for the press; but nothing was found to throw any light on his ancestry or personal history. The young men with him were led to believe that his place of correspondence or his home was somewhere in eastern Ohio. They said he wrote for some paper, called the Nonpareil, in that region. With himself ended all his plans for colonizing the West. The young men returned to Missouri. The little girl grew up to womanhood, was married, and as far as is known, has a good record. This is all that was known at the Mission of General Southerland.
"This little piece of Kansas history has never before been written, and if published might reach the eyes of some one who would be interested. It was the privilege of the writer to be in charge of the Iowa and Sac Mission where this occurred, and he can vouch for the correctness of it."
A circumstance connected with the admission of Kansas, in which the writer figured, left an impression on his mind, that like all other wild adventures, will never be obliterated, until the power that furnishes life's electricity "stops short, never to go again." It was 12 o'clock at night in the composing room of the St. Joseph Daily Gazette; Charlie Thompson, the foreman, had his forms about closed, and the boys were lounging around wearily, waiting for "30." In that composing room was a young printer who had previously been migrating with the seasons, going West when the "pewees" commenced to sing, and seeking the genial atmosphere of some Missouri printshop upon the appearance of white frost. Thomas White, a large farmer and stock raiser near Council Grove, Kansas, had been looking for the admission, and wrote to his typographical friend, that when it occurred, to get the news to him at the earliest possible moment, regardless of expense. At the time, the printer owned a fleet-footed pony, which was then being groomed and foddered in Kate Burgess' livery stable. At 12:30 came "30," and it bore the news of the admission of Kansas. The typo, with migrating proclivities, immediately tendered his resignation and ordered his pony; but what was he to do? Jule Robidoux, the clerk, had gone home, and there was a balance of a few dollars due him. However, Oscar Leonard, one of the model compositors of those days, finally came to his relief and advanced a twenty dollar bill, and took an order on the "clerk" for the same.
Just at 2 o'clock, after bidding the boys "good-bye," the voting man, with two or three Gazettes on one side of his saddle pockets, balanced with a "wet lunch" on the other side, mounted his firey little steed and skipped across the Missouri river on the ice, just below the "Robidoux brick." About sunrise that morning he took breakfast at a cabin on Independence creek and rested his pony an hour. At 2 o'clock he dined in Topeka, exchanged ponies with "Jo Jim," the Kaw Indian interpreter, took supper at Mission creek, and at 12 o'clock that night Mr. White read the Gazette before a blazing fire, while the hungry typo devoured a red-hot lunch, and congratulated himself that he was the first one to travel any distance in the new state. Distance, 140 miles: time, 22 hours.---St. Joseph Gazette, Jan. 24, 1897.
The Historical Edition of the Atchison Globe, published in July 1894, which was one of the most readable historical editions ever issued in the West, and which contained much interesting history of our own County, gave the following sketch of the great drouth of 1860.
"The great drouth occurred in 1860. The spring of that year was very promising until the latter part of June, when the hot winds began blowing about noon. They ceased at nightfall, but resumed operations the next day. One old settler says that the hot winds came up instantly and caused him to run out of his house expecting to find a fire.
"Although the corn was two feet high and very strong and vigorous, the hot winds cooked it completely, and it wilted and fell over. There has never been a hot wind like it since in this section of the state, although western Kansas people born after 1860 are able to describe similar experiences. The fact that this section of the state is now free from hot winds is due to the circumstance that the country west of us has been settled up, and the great desert where the winds were heated, no longer exists. There is nothing in the theory that the rain belt gradually travels westward with the settlements; one of the worst drouths in the history of the West was experienced last summer in Illinois, while eastern Kansas had timely rains and abundant crops. This section is supplied with moisture from the Gulf of Mexico, and possibly one year in five, this aerial stream overflows, and there are heavy rains in the extreme West, when the people say the rain belt is travelling westward, but the truth is, that fifty years ago the same conditions existed as exist at present. No traveler remembers buffalo grass or sage brush in this section of the West, and during the time that a record has been kept, the rainfall has not increased in western Kansas, Colorado or Wyoming.
"The principal settlements in 1860 were within thirty or forty miles of Atchison, although there were settlers along the streams as far west as Waterville. There had not been much immigration that year, or since 1858: indeed Kansas probably lost population from 1858 to 1860, owing to the Kansas war, and other causes.
"The distress of the people attracted the prompt attention and assistance of abolition leaders in the East. S. C. Pomeroy had arrived at Lawrence in 1854, at the head of the second big party of New England Free State immigrants, and had located in Atchison two or three years later. It was largely through his efforts that the "aid" of 1860-1 was sent to Kansas and distributed.
"It came about naturally and Pomeroy distributed the aid received, as he was the friend and agent of Eli Thayer and Thaddeus Hyatt, the wealthy abolition enthusiasts who collected much of the aid, and who had been instrumental in sending thousands of Free State settlers to Kansas. A distributing office was established in a wooden building opposite the old postoffice, and a fabulous amount of aid poured into this depot from July, 1860, until the following spring. Every thing in the way of food and clothing was sent in the most liberal quantity, and it was no unusual sight to see a dozen wagons from western and southern Kansas loading in front of the distributing depot at one time. These wagons came thirty, fifty, seventy-five and a hundred miles, the drivers being furnished orders from local committees as vouchers. S. C. King, who clerked in E. K. Blair's store at the time, and who assisted Pomeroy in distributing the aid, remembers one man who got a lot of aid, and spent $75 for luxuries in the store.
We here present a few extracts from an editorial that appeared in the Doniphan Crusader of Freedom, of date May 17, 1858, which expresses Editor James Redpath's opinion of "General" James H. Lane:
"I did not know then, what I have since learned to my cost, that he is as dishonest in business as in politics, that his word of honor is as worthless as his character, that his solemn promises, in nine cases out of ten, are infallible indications of what he will not do.
"If he 'crushes me out'---he has said he would do it---it will be the first promise he has kept, and I will willingly accord him the credit of it.
"He would ruin a friend or a woman with as little compunction as he would eat an egg, and would take pleasure in doing it, if it would advance his ambition by a single hairsbreadth. I solemnly declare that I never knew him to perform a disinterested action excepting in two instances only: once, in Nebraska in assisting a fugitive to escape; once, in Leavenworth, in giving a dollar to a citizen for a widow in destitute circumstances. He insisted that the widow should know who gave the dollar. If he has seen her since, and did not try to seduce her, the fact should be mentioned as a remarkable incident by his future biographer.
"He wished me to advocate his claims to the presidency. I told him that if a new man is to be chosen by the Republican party, I would vote for Frank Blair, of Missouri, and refused to mention him in connection with any office whatever. He "looked hell" at me, to adopt his own choice language, but said nothing about it.
"He wished to engage me in a criminal enterprise, and then I would be his slave forever! I never hated Lane until he asked me to do this deed. I did indeed despise him from the bottom of my soul, but I did not believe him to be capable of a scheme so diabolical---to involve a young man, without any cause in a criminal act of private revenge. It was so cowardly, contemptible and hellish that I left him without saying a word.
The "criminal enterprise" was the suggested murder of Robt. S. Kelley, editor of the Squatters' Sovereign, suggested by Lane, who wanted to get even with Kelly for having written the following letter said to have been picked up in Doniphan:
"'Lane takes with him a wagon, in which there are seven muskets that I know of, and probably more. Watch your chance, and be sure and capture them. They are a part of the guns stolen from us during the late excitement here. For God's sake, don't fail to put it to Lane.
"Lane wears a coat of mail If you expect to hit him in a vital place, aim at his head."
One of the earliest recognitions of a St. Valentine's Day custom was shown in Wolf River township in 1863. On the approach of the saint's day, the boys and girls of the prairie met and agreed to exchange valentines when the day should arrive. A "postoffice" was established at the broom factory of Dave Morse located about a quarter of a mile south the present home of A. L. Wynkoop, of the Bendena neighborhood. Link Morse was "commissioned" postmaster for the occasion, and an agreement was made that the office should be open at nine o'clock on St. Valentine's morn. Promptly at that hour on that eventful day, the postoffice door was thrown open, and Link in his best clothes and with the most solemn dignity bespeaking the high character of his position, appeared behind the dry goods box which served the purpose of receptacle for the "mail." Patrons of the office soon began to arrive---girls on horseback, galloping across the hills, their cheeks red with the kiss of the winter wind, and the boys trudging through the snow with their guns on their shoulders, well shaven and handsome, with high top boots and fur caps, all happy with anticipation. The girls, possessing the greater curiosity, were the first to ask for the "mail." Postmaster Morse with well served dignity handed out the first missive. It was a neat envelope made of a coarse yellow wrapping paper, the kind often used in those days to wrap up Kirk's soap, and contained a very ugly print picture clipped from Frank Leslie's Budget, or some other humorous sheet. It represented an old maid wearing side-curls, and wide and rebounding hoop-skirt. The recipient giggled, bit a piece out of the valentine, pouted and then put it into the stove in the corner. The second envelope opened revealed a playing card, the queen of hearts, which, at first was taken as a compliment; but some words scrawled in pencil on the margin cleared away all doubt as to the real sentiment of the sender of the valentine. It was limping poetry, and read sonicthing like this:
Your smile seems warm, but your heart seems cold,
And you are wanting to marry, I'm told,
But we knew you well, and you'll have to wait
'Till a blind man comes, or leave the state."
While the victim of this joke was still screaming with rage and tearing up the "nasty old card," half a dozen young men entered and received their mail. Such an array of comics had never been seen. There were crude cartoons cut from the comic papers, prints from Hosletter's green covered almanac, cuts from stock and farm journals representing the donkey, the oat and that other domestic animal that despises red and wears a ring in his nose, and a dozen other samples from as many sources. These were all exhibited causing an uproar of laughter and a hurricane of delight. Those that had been vexed came out of their pouts and joined in the merry chorus, even the girl who got the queen of hearts, and none laughed louder and longer than she. Thus passed the merry St. Valentine's day on the prairie, in the long ago, and we'll say no more about it here, because two or three of the girls are still living in this County.
In the Spring of 1856, a man by the name of Isaac Perkins settled on the Prairies on Cedar Creek in this County, about four miles down the Creek on what is now the crossing on the Highland and Hiawatha road. Along about the holidays in that year, his daughter, Mary, who had been visiting friends at Iowa Point, started to return home. Soon after starting there came up one of these terrible blizzards from the northwest, which the early settlers will remember, occasionally swept the country, like a besom of destruction. During one of these terrible times almost every living thing which remained unsheltered, perished in the bitter storm. From that it turned into a regular north-west blizzard, filling the air, and bewildering the poor girl until she strayed away from the buffalo trail she was following across the high prairie and completely lost her way. She wandered around all day and at night found herself on the banks of the creek, only two miles from home, but so completely bewildered that she had no idea of direction. She crept under the bank of the creek, made herself a shelter of brush, boughs and snow, and prepared to spend the night. In this retreat she remained for forty-six hours, finally becoming unconscious. Her folks supposing her to be still with her relatives, hiad no anxiety. The next afternoon after she had left Iowa Point they discovered her absence and arousing the sparsely settled neighborhood, search was begun but not until the search had continued one whole day and night was she discovered. When found she was helpless and unconscious. While lying there and before she became unconscious, she wrote the story of her wanderings and sufferings in a Kansas snow storm. She described the agony endured, thinking she was going to die away from home and mother, and all friends she held so dear. The tablet she had to write her story on was her shoes, and her desk was the frozen snow in front of her. The story she had written in this homely way while awaiting the dreaded messenger was published in the papers and widely copied through the East. After being taken to her home and medical assistance summoned, it was found that her lower limbs were so badly frozen, that both feet had to be amputated. She eventually recovered her health, and although a cripple for life, the last time I saw her she was well and hearty, and seemed to be enjoying life, trying to make everyone around her happy. - J. M. Marcum, in Robinson Index, Feb., 1900.
One of the most destructive hail storms that ever visited the County came on Sunday afternoon, May 3rd, 1863. The following account of the storm is from the White Cloud Chief, of date May 7th of that year:
"About four o'clock huge hail stones began to fall at intervals, sounding like large rocks dropped upon the roofs of houses. Very soon the storm burst in all its fury, and hail came fast and thick. lt appeared more like solid chunks of ice. than hail stones. It seemed as if the bottom had dropped out of some house in the upper regions and the solid cakes of ice precipitated on the world below. The storm continued for over half an hour, and in that time, did immense damage. We saw one hail stone that measured twelve inches in circumference, and weighed one pound. We have heard of still larger ones. We had a number that measured from ten to eleven inches, and five picked up at random weighed three and one half pounds.
"Out of one hundred and forty-four panes of glass in the east end of the City Hotel, but eleven were left unbroken; and nearly every pane of glass was broken out of the windows in the east and north-east sides of every house in town, and the sash smashed to pieces. Shingles were knocked from the roofs of houses, panels split from doors, fencing boards shattered, and in one case a hail stone went through a roof, shingles, sheeting and all. Some of the stones on reaching the ground, bounded ten or fifteen feet into the air, the largest ones bursting as they fell. We saw several fly into three or four pieces, each piece of which must have weighed half a pound. This was the artillery of that storm. After about an hour's cessation, the musketry came, and we had a heavy shower of rain and small hail.
"The damage caused by the storm is considerable. Sheep, calves and poultry have been killed, and larger animals considerably bruised. Wherever the hail hit cattle it took the hair off in wads. We have heard of many persons being injured by the hail. We have been told of a lady living several miles from here, who was on her way home on horseback, when the storm overtook her. A large hail-stone struck her on the head, causing the blood to flow profusely. She was also struck on the arm, receiving a severe bruise, and we understand that she is still suffering considerably from her injuries.
Major Daniel Vanderslice was of Holland descent, and the spelling of his name was perhaps Van der Slice. His ancestors were among the early Dutch settlers of America. He was born at Reading, Berks County, Pa., on the 10th of February, 1799. His father, whose name was also Daniel, with his family, resided in Philadelphia, but owing to the prevalence of yellow fever in that city, in the fall of 1798, with which he was himself attacked, he sent his wife to Reading, to her father's, Abraham Cremmens, where she remained for some time after the birth of the subject of this sketch. His mother, on account of illness, not being able to nurse him, he was taken to a married sister, named Fox, who had lost an infant a few days before. When his mother recovered she returned to Philadelphia, leaving the baby with her sister, who had become so much attached to him that she was unwilling to part with him. He remained until he was about four years old, when he was taken to the family in the city. As Mrs. Fox and her family converse almost wholly in German, the boy had no knowledge of the English language when he reached Philadelphia; but as soon as he was old enough, he was sent to school and soon forgot his German.
His father died about the beginning of the war of 1812. That war had caused a vast amount of excitement; and the capture of many ships by American privateers and the naval operation generally, created a strong desire among the young men and boys to enter the service. Among them, young Vanderslice sought service on one of the gunboats that was being hurredly repaired, and which was soon after captured by a British squadron by the capes of Deleware. But Daniel had been prevented from going by his mother sending him up to Chester County, on Brandy Creek, where he was apprenticed to Joseph to learn paper making, with whom he worked out his time and became a skilled workman.
After serving out his term and becoming of age, Mr. Vanderslice, in March, 1820, went to Washington City; but he soon after went to Kentucky and taught school at Ferran Creek, near Louisville. At the expiration of a term of school, his services were in demand at his trade, and he engaged with the Johnsons at Great Crossings, Scott County, Kentucky.
In March, 1822, he joined an expedition to explore and work the lead mines on River La Feve, in northwestern Illinois, and a lease was granted to the company to work a quantity of land for a given number of years. But there was trouble with the Indians over these mineral lands, and upon arriving at Rock Island, the employees were organized into a rifle company, and Mr. Vanderslice was chosen captain. Thereafter he was known as "Captain Van," and was also an arbitrator, or referee, to settle all disputes arising among proprietors and miners, and his decisions were generally acquiesced in. While in camp on Rock Island, many councils were held with the Indians and the Major often met the great chiefs, Black Hawk and Keokuk. He listened to one of Keokuk's eloquent and impassionate speeches, in which, while protesting his friendship for the whites, and his devotion to the government, he complained of the grasping disposition and encroachments the people of the states. He compared the red men to a little dog that had found a bone, and the whites to a big dog that leaped upon the little one and took the bone from him. Keokuk is described, as being at that time, a splendid specimen of manhood.
Mr. Vanderslice soon went to work at his trade in Jefferson County, Ky., where he was married, and as he could not persuade his wife to go to Galena, he settled down to work, and was soon able to buy a small farm. In 1825 he returned to Great Crossing and went to work at his trade, and the following year he entered into partnership with General David Thompson, who owned a mill at Longview on the Elkhorn. In 1830 he went to see the races, where two of the horses flew the track, one of them running against his mare and breaking his leg in the collision. He was taken to the house of General William Johnson, a nephew of Col. Richard M. Johnson, who owned a paper mill, where he dissolved his partnership with Gen. Thompson and accepted the management of the Great Crossing paper mills. He was appointed postmaster, and occasionally corresponded for the papers. His political articles were in support of the measures favored by General Jackson, and in opposition to Nullification. He was elected Lieutenant of a volunteer company, and was selected to procure a suitable flag for the company, on which he had inscribed in golden letters, on a scroll held in the beak of a spread eagle, the words - "The Union, It Must and Shall be Preserved." These memorable words became the watchword of the Democrats, who opposed the Nullification doctrine of the principles of John C. Calhoun. When Jackson issued a proclamation against that fallacy, Mr. Vanderslice had printed two thousand copies on tinted paper and some on satin, for distribution: and where, they could not be reached by mail, he filled his saddle bags with them, and traveled from hamlet to hamlet, distributing them among the people.
Having purchased the Kentucky Sentinel, at Georgetown, Mr. Vanderslice conducted it in advocacy of the election of Martin Van Buren and Richard M. Johnson for president of the United States in 1836. He next purchased a stock of goods, and turned his attention to mercantile affairs; but foreseeing, from the signs of the times, the great crash that was coming, he sold out in time to save himself.
Early in March, 1837, Major Vander was appointed special agent for the removal of the Chickasaw Indians to the new homes west of the Mississippi. The duties were attended with more than ordinary difficulties, as well as dangers. These Indians were recognized as citizens and were subject to being sued for debt, the same as white people; and as they had much property, as soon as it was found that they were going to emigrate, all manner of claims were trumped up against them, which required much time to adjust, all of which devolved upon the Major. Owing to his experience with Indians and his success in managing them, Major Vanderslice, in 1853, was appointed by President Pierce, agent of the Iowas and the Sacs and Foxes of Missouri, located in the northern part of this County, the Agency then being at the Mission Farm, at Highland. He held his position until Lincoln became president in 1861. During his incumbency, he opend a road through the bottom, from St. Joseph to the bluffs at Wathena, now known as the Rock Road. He also conducted the sales of the Iowa Trust Lands, at Iowa Point, in 1857, embracing all the country from the Missouri river at White Cloud and Iowa Point westward, to the vicinity of Padonia, Brown County. During his administration, the Agency was removed from the Mission to near the Nemaha river northwest of White Cloud.
Major Vanderslice was a member of the Lecompton Constitiutional Convention in 1857, and framed the constitution that created such an uproar in Kansas, and and caused so many elections, the final one being its rejection, under the proposition known as the "English Bill." Since retiring from the Indian Agency, Mr. Vanderslice has held no public position, but retained his residence in this County. He always took great interest in politics but, while being warm partisan, he always had respect for the opinions of those who differed from him. He did not engage in any of the methods of what was known as the "Border Ruffian" party, and during the war was loyal. His connections and associations were all Southern but he held to his sentiments of the Jacksonian days. He had for many years been a member of the Masonic Fraternity, and had reached a high rank in the Order. Although placed in public positions in which he might have amassed an independent fortune, and in which many others did make fortunes, no taint of speculation or dishonesty were attached to him. He was never in affluent circumstances, and died very poor.
Major Vanderslice died February 5, 1889, lacking just five days of being 90 years of age. His funeral took place at Highland on Thursday, the 7th, conducted by the Masons of the Smithton Lodge, the first Masonic Lodge instituted in Kansas, of which he was one of the founders---Kansas Chief.
It may interest many to read what Redpath's "Handbook to Kansas Territory" had to say concerning the river towns, in 1859. We quote:
"DONIPHAN---There are four natural roads leading from Doniphan out into the surrounding country---Deer creek, rising in the south-west, Independence creek in the west, Rock creek in the north-west, and Spring creek in the north. Doniphan is situated in a district of timbered land, more extensive and of better quality than is elsewhere to be found on the Missouri river. Owing to this fact, lumber is sold by the Doniphan mills at a lower figure than at any other point in Kansas. Two extensive saw mills are in operation. It often happens, when the water is low, that boats with heavy draft have to reload here in order to get over Smith's bar, thus making Doniphan the great depot for upriver commerce.
"GEARY CITY.---This little town is situated two or three miles above Doniphan but has no advantage over it. It has a poor site, lies situated too far out for an interior trade, has no steam ferry, nor rich citizens, nor other means of rapid growth---nothing to support it but a strata of good clay, 'fit for the potter's use.' It is not likely to increase in numbers. Population 300 or 400. it is what is called a speculator's town.
PETERSBURG.---Situated three or four miles above Geary "City" It also is a great city, a speculator's city, it consists of---one hut.
PALERMO.---This is the next point. It is three miles in a direct line from St. Joseph, and eight miles by river, it was located by some Missouri speculators early in 1855; in the spring of 1857, large purchases were made by a Free-State company. Since then the town has steadily progressed. It now contains about 500 inhabitants and 150 buildings, a large steam, saw, and flouring mill, several stores, a printing office, from which is issued the Palermo Leader, a good hotel and a school house. The hopes of the proprietors as to the future prosperity of their town, are based upon a projected railroad, the St. Joseph & Topeka, terminating there. A charter has been granted and a large amount of stock taken.
ELWOOD---This town, opposite St. Joseph, was laid out in the Spring of 1857, on the site of Roseport. It contains about 1,500 inhabitants, a large number of buildings, a fine hotel, three saw mills, several shingle, planing, and lath machines, a number of stores and a printing office, from which the Kansas Press is issued weekly. It aims to be the rival of St. Joseph, and should it become important, will derive its value from its proximity to that city. No doubt would exist of its future but for the lowness of its site, the town being built on what, but a few years since, was the bed of the Missouri river. It is very low and flat, and will require a large amount of expenditure capital to secure it against inundations. This difficulty overcome, Elwood will be a point of great commercial interest.
"IOWA POINT.---This is situated thirty miles from St. Joseph and Elwood, the former being the terminus of the Hannibal & St. Joseph railroad. It contains a population of several hundred, a number of enterprising merchants, a good school, etc. A daily line of stage from Leavenworth, connecting there with the stages in connection with the Pacific railroad, have their stopping place here. It is an enterprising place, was laid out in 1855 by Southern men, but is now principally in Free-State hands.
"HIGHLAND.---This is an enterprising village. It is the seat of a projected college under the direction of the Presbyterian church. One wing of the building is under process of erection. A newspaper, the Highlander, is published there.
"WHITE CLOUD.---This is the last point---being but two miles from the Nebraska line in Kansas---on the Missouri river. It was located in the summer of 1857, and now contains 500 inhabitants, five stores, a printing office, from which is issued the Kansas Chief, and also a good school. Good coal is found there, also iron ore, limestone and an abundance of excellent timber. The landing is a good rock one."
A young man who has an attentive ear for stories pertaining to the early days, with whom we were recently talking, said: "Ever ride to a funeral with an old man who lived here in the early days? Well, he's the man to listen to, and the time of a funeral is the time to hear him. Not very long ago I rode with an old gentleman pioneer in a funeral procession. The funeral train led through wood and vale, wound round hills and jogged over rills and across gulches until I thought the hearse man had lost his way and was driving in a circle. At every turn of the road which led through Burr Oak township, my venerable companion would point to a hill, or slope, or gulch, or glade, saying: 'On yonder hill we buried the old man that was hooked to death by his cow, as he was leading her to water at a spring by the old trail; on the slope sleeps the man that was killed by the steamboat captain; not far from that gulch two men had a fight to death over a woman, and both were buried somewhere in the gulch; on that knoll are the graves of a few men that were too slow with their guns. They were buried in shallow graves, and some years ago their skulls were found rolling down the hill; by yonder tree a man was found dead with a bullet hole in his forehead; there by that spring two young men fought a duel with knives over a game of cards, etc., etc., until one might believe that the place was a veritable Golgotha."
There is more or less mystery connected with many of those early day tragedies, which never can be cleared up. No doubt in the Burr-oak hills lie hidden the bones of many a "missing man," long sought for by sorrowing family and sympathizing friends; and with the author of "Beyond the Mississippi" we may ask, "Who shall sing the saddest strain of the nameless graves, which thicker than milestones, dot the emigrant roads from Missouri to California?"
Transcribed from Gray's Doniphan County history: A record of the happenings of half a hundred years. By P. L. (Patrick Leopoldo) Gray. Bendena, Kan.: The Roycroft Press, 1905. 3p. l. -84, 166,  p. front., plates, ports. 24 cm.
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