Posts Tagged ‘Kansas’

The House that Jeems Built

January 16, 2012

Image from U.S. History ImagesBleeding Kansas


Kansas with Slavery. — This is the house that Jeems built.

Southern influence and Gold. — This is the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Shannon. — This is the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Walker. — This is the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Lecompton Constitution — This is the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Douglas — This is the cow with crumpled horn that tossed the dog, that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Kansas without Slavery — This is the maiden all forlorn that milked the cow with the crumpled horn that tossed the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

The Union. — This is the man all tattered and torn that married the maiden all forlorn that milked the cow with the crumpled horn that tossed the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

The American People. — This is the priest all shaven and shorn that married the man all tattered and torn unto the maiden all forlorn that milked the cow with the crumpled horn that tossed the dog that worried the cat that killed the rat that eat the malt that lay in the house that Jeems built.

Kansas Crusader for Freedom.

The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Mar 5, 1858

Free States, States’ Rights & New Nationalism

December 8, 2011

Image from Kansas Historical Quarterly


Colonel Roosevelt Will Dedicate Park at Osawatomie, Kas.

OSAWATOMIE, Kas., Aug. 28. — On the battlefield at the outskirts of this village, where fifty-six years ago John Brown, the fighting abolitionist, with a handful of stern free state men stood off ten time his number of pro-slavery guerrillas, Theodore Roosevelt next Wednesday will deliver an address dedicating the historic ground as a state park. A tract of twenty-two acres, the supposed scene of the battle of Osawatomie, was purchased some time ago by the woman’s relief corps of the Kansas G.A.R. and given to the state. It will be called the John Brown park.

The program of the dedication will cover two days, August 30 and 31. Colonel Roosevelt will arrive here at 9:30 in the morning of the 31st. First he will be taken to visit the old log cabin just west of the town, where, with his stalwart sons, John Brown lived until after the fight which gave him, the name “Osawatomie” Brown. He left the neighborhood and finally drifted back to the east and Harpers Ferry.

After luncheon Colonel Roosevelt, escorted by a troop of Spanish war veterans, will take part in a parade to the grand stand in the new park, where he will be introduced by Governor Stubbs of Kansas. On September 1, he will go to Kansas City, where he is to deliver an address on conservation.

The first day of the exercises is to be given over to martial music, patriotic recitations and a speech by Representative W.A. Calderhead of Kansas.

The battle of Osawatomie on August 30, 1856, the first instance in which the anti-slavery men of Kansas, known as the free state party, showed organized resistance to the bands of pro-slavery marauders, commonly called “ruffians” in that day, came as the direct result of the sack of Lawrence, the headquarters of the free state party. This brought matters to a head. Emboldened by success the pro-slavery leaders openly avowed a policy of extermination. Most of the dare-devil marauders who made up their fighting ranks were guerillas from Missouri.

John Brown, who had just come from the east, was the first to inspire his party to armed resistance. A few weeks after the sack of Lawrence he received word that 400 “ruffians” under General J.W. Ried were marching on Osawatomie. He hastily called forty-one supporters and armed them.

Stationing himself at the edge of a wood, he held the “ruffians” at bay in spite of their cannon, until further resistance meant massacre. Most of Brown’s men escaped by swimming the Marias des Cynges river. He lost six men killed and seven captured.

The loss to the “ruffians” has been reported at from ten to thirty.

The three survivors of the battle, the only ones so far as known, will be here to attend the dedication. They are Edward P. Bridgeman of Madison, Wis., who will have his three sons with him; D.W. Collins of Santa Monica, Col., and Luke F. Parsons of Salina, Kas.

The Nebraska State Journal (Lincoln, Nebraska) Aug 29, 1910

Portrait of Eli Thayer, 1819-1899, who in 1853-54 was a representative in the Massachusetts legislature, and while there, originated and organized the New England Emigrant Aid Company. He worked to combine the northern states in support of his plan to send antislavery settlers into Kansas. Lawrence, Topeka, Manhattan, and Ossawatomie, Kansas, were settled under the auspices of his company.

Image and caption from Kansas Memory


Indignant That John Brown Should Be Credited With Honors Belonging to Her Father.

WORCESTER, Mass., Sept. 19. — Enraged because former President Roosevelt, in his recent Osawatomie speech lauded John Brown as the greatest of Kansans, Miss Eva Alden Thayer, daughter of the late Congressman Eli Thayer, has taken the photograph of Colonel Roosevelt from the library of her home and thrown in on the ash heap.

Miss Thayer says:

“It is an historical fact that it was Eli Thayer and Dr. Charles Robinson who are responsible for the state being admitted January 29, 1861, as a free state, and it is certainly the height of impertinence and audacity for the man who says he believes in fair play and a square deal giving the credit to John Brown, the Harper’s Ferry insurrectionist.”

Lincoln Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Sep 19, 1910

Lincoln Evening News (Lincoln, Nebraska) Sep 3, 1910


National Control is Thought Better.


He Aligns Himself With the Pinchot Faction in Congress on Conservation Plan.

ST.PAUL, Minn., Sept. 7 — The doctrine of the “new nationalism,” which ex-President Roosevelt enunciated in his speech at Osawatomie, Kan., last week, was set forth still more clearly in his speech before the National Conservation congress. He declared for government control of the country’s natural resources, and in so doing he placed himself directly against the advocates of “state rights,” whose opposition to the principles which he laid down has furnished the liveliest debates of the conservation congress.

“If it had not been for corporate interests, especially those which may be described as predatory, we would never have heard of this question of state’s rights,” he declared. And later he said:

The Real Issue

“It is not really a question of state against nation. It is really a question of special corporate interests against the people.”

He said the corporations were anxious to have the states take up the work that they might escape all effective control.

The outbursts of applause which greeted Colonel Roosevelt as he delivered his speech in the auditorium were as long and loud as any he has heard during his western trip. Minneapolis and St. Paul dropped work for the day and  turned out to see the colonel. The school children, with hundreds of flags, saluted him as he rode by, bands were played and banners were everywhere.

When Colonel Roosevelt arrived at the capital the presidential salute of twenty-one guns was given him.

Spoke at State Fair

Colonel Roosevelt, after his speech at the conservation congress, went to the state fair grounds, between this city and Minneapolis. At the fair grounds he addressed the largest crowd of the day.

Last night he attended a dinner given by Colonel Alex O. Brode of the Rough Riders and left for Milwaukee, where he is to spend today.

Departed From Notes

Colonel Roosevelt made a number of additions to the speech which he had prepared for the conservation congress and most of his interpolations were made to emphasize his stand for “new nationalism.”

In speaking of the federal control of corporations, he said:

“In addition to the fact that the federal government is better able to exact justice from the corporations, I also believe it is less appropriate in some gust of popular passion to do justice to them.

Justice to Corporations

“I should like to see the people, through the national government, give full justice to the corporations,” he said elsewhere, “but I do not want the national government to depend only upon the good will of the corporations to get justice for the people.”

In regard to the control of waterways by railroads, Colonel Roosevelt said:

“You people must not sit supinely and let the railroads gain control of the boat lines and then say that the men at the head of the railways are very bad people. If you leave it to them to get control of the boat lines, some of them are sure to do it, and it is to your interest that the best and ablest among them should do so. But do not let any of them do it except under the conditions which we lay down. In other words when you, of your own will, permit the rules of the game to be such that you are absolutely certain to get the worst of it at the hands of someone else, do not blame the other men.

“Change the rules of the game.”

The colonel advocated drainage of swamp and over flow lands chiefly through activity of the federal government. He defended the work done to establish national forests and recommended the establishment of a federal bureau of health. When he came to speak of the national conservation commission, he made what was interpreted here as a sharp thrust at Congressman James A. Tawney.

Warren Evening Mirror (Warren, Pennsylvania) Sep 7, 1910

Massacre of St. Mary’s

October 29, 2010

Rebels Gather (Image by sunface13 on flickr)

The Massacre of St. Mary’s.


Many tragedies have been enacted on the bloody soil of Kansas. When on the verge of the most thrilling scenes, actors let fall many humorous bits which give relish to the play. But on the stage of the world, one little thinks of the scenes that may follow.

In the little settlement of St. Marys in the western part of Douglas county, Kansas, a Home Guard had been organized. Rumors had been circulated through the country, and every one was on the alert for the coming of the Border ruffians. The brawn of the settlement came together to drill at the little Catholic church on Saturday. The captain, Billie Baldwin, was one of the “Indiany” settlers who, seemingly grave at all times, possessed the deep imbred sense of humor, characteristic of the “Hoosier.”

As the little band marched and counter-marched, there was one among them that seemed to take especial pride in his military maneuvers; and when the command, “Rest,” was given, the boastful brogue of Pat _______ might be heard above the quiet talk of the American and German settlers.

“Faith, Ii’ll droive the darty brats from Kansas loik me namesake St. Patrick sint the snakes skedaddlin’ from ould Oirland.” “Oh, come now, Pat, don’t you mane they will droive you?” said Richard Kelley, imitating the Irishman. “Ye’re mighty brave, ain’t you? when they ain’t no one around to fight,” put in another “Vot yow dink you do?” cried Joe Michael, in his taunting Dutch accents.

Then followed a steady stream of gibes and jests. This manner of carrying on took place nearly every Saturday. At last the word came that a band of “borderers” were coming from the southwest where they had been seen along the Marias des Cygne valley. Word was sent to all the members of the company. By noon, the little church was crowded with women and children, while in front stood the men ready to vault into the saddles at the command. Fear was pictured on the pale faces the women who watched the prairies, half expecting to see the galloping forms of the ruffians rise over the tops of the hills at the south and west. Some of most devout knelt in the church and offered earnest petitions for the safety of the home guards and for their own preservation.

Soon the order to mount was given and the little band rode away to the southwest, and were lost to view amid the undulating billows of the tall prairie grass. Stern hearts beat under their home made garments. No word, no sound save the steady beat of hoofs escaped from the body of horsemen.

Several miles to the west was a deep gulch with a few scattered trees which had outlived the annual prairie fires. The slough grass, here, grew to such a height that a horseman, by dismounting, might easily have concealed himself without the least chance of being discovered. Imagine, if you can, the feeling one would have as he passes through such a place, not knowing at what moment he may be attacked by an unmerciful foe. But through Lonely Hollow, as it was called by the settlers, they passed and on to the southwest went, but still no signs of the enemy. The depression of spirits soon passed away as they rode on. At first the two riding side by side began to talk to each other. Then one in advance would turn to speak to his neighbor in the rear. Their actions became free as the novelty of the situation died away.

But what of Pat? At the rear of the  troop, he might be seen. Occasionally he would dismount and look at his horse’s foot, with the remark, “Sure an’ the crather is limpin’ a bit, Oi do belave.”

“Yaw, you show how you was prave?” tauntingly responded Michael.

“Don’t you think your horse will hold out till you get back home, Pat?” called out another.

“Sure, an’ Oi don’t belave it’s good for much more,” replied Pat.

At this the whole troop burst out into laughter, for it was evident that the Hibernian’s parade bravery had deserted him now that he was to have a real chance to assert it.

Along the Santa Fe trail they went but heard nothing of the “borderers.” They had received a false alarm but at last they concluded to go on for a few miles to the 110 Trading Post. This was long before the days of prohibition in Kansas, so here some of the men stocked up with whiskey. After having stopped a short time, Billie Baldwin decided to divide the company in two parts; one of which would follow down the 110 creek to the Marias des Cygne valley, thence along the river, and return to the settlement from the southeast; the other was to go back the same route they had come. Among the latter were Richard Kelley, Joe Michael and pat, while the captain with about fifteen of the men struck off to the southeast.

By this time Pat’s horse had lost all of its lameness, and as they rode along, once more the Irishman could be heard enlarging on what would have been done if they had only met the “blackgards” from Missouri. Kelley suggested that they had better thake their time going home as they had ridden hard, “It will be moonlight any way.”

The sun was just sinking behind the hills as they came to the west side of Lonely Hollow. A haziness filled the valley with an indistinctness almost supernatural. A lone wolf away to the north howled. It was answered by the screach of a prairie owl.

“Och, Holy Mather, what if the dirty brats be a waitin us here!” exclaimed Pat.

The rest of the company begain to play on the fears of the poor Irishman. “I dink ve beter get our guns ready,” spoke Joe Michael in a low tone. “Hist, what’s that?” said Kelley in an undertone. “Oh! that’s nothin’,” spoke up another in a cheerful manner. So down into the hollow they rode, joking until they themselves began to feel a “creepy” sensation.”

Marais Massacre scene from Wikipedia

Pat, ,who had been in the lead while on the homeward way, now dropped back into the bunch of horsemen as they broke into a sharp gallop. There is a movement in the tall grass, south of the beaten trail. Hark! is it some cattle that have strayed off into the valley? No. In another place the grass stirs, and another and another.

The report of a volley of rifles cracks through the stillness of the evening. Every horse save Pat’s is now riderless. Tragedies have been enacted, but where could a more fitting place be found than here in a lone valley on the bleak prairie. Pat up spurs to horse and ran. How his horse ran! As the shots were fired he thought he felt something hit him but now he was sure of it. He sank the spurs into the flanks of the horses which was running its best. How his back hurts him! The rest had been killed and he was wounded. Is that the sound of hoofs behind? Yes, They are pursuing. No. It is but the throbbing of his head. He thinks he can feel the blood throbbing down his clothing. Yes. He is het. Will he fall from his horse? He clings to the saddle horn in desperation. He will try to reach the little church before he dies. Oh! heavens, he hears the sound of hoofs! He is sure of it! Now they are lost. Yes, again they come. If he can only reach the church! How his past floods his mind! The evil deeds that he has done, how he sees them all! He can no longer hear his pursuers. He listens intently. Surely they have given up the chase. Yes, he is sure of it. Oh, how his back hurts! Will he bleed to death before he can reach the church? Now he can see the spire siloutted against the eastern sky. Now over the rise he can see the light in the church. He wonders if he ruffians will see the light and follow him there. How his horse runs! Will it hold out? The foam fairly covers it and drops from its reeking sides. He thinks of the ugly wound which must be in his back. Now the church is only a few yards distant. The people, hearing the hastening hoofs, run out see what is the matter. Who is it? What is wrong? “Och, holy mather! sure an’ the dirty varmints hav kilt all the rist; and sure an’ Oi’m that bad hurt that Oi can hardly brathe! Sure an’ tear he shirt off of me back, for its hit that Oi am!” cried Pat as he burst into the building.

What a commotion there was. Some of them in their terror, fell down on their knees and prayed. Others rung their hands and wept. Their sobbing and prayers mingled in a strange melody. In their fear, they opened their hearts and showed their secrets. “Oh Lord, forgive me, I called John a coword this very morning,” came the wail of one. “Mercifu God, spare us!” “O Lord, forgive me!” “Blessed virgin, guard us!” “O, Fader, vatch ofer us!” “O, holy mother, we have done wrong! Forgive us, O, blessed virgin!” Such comingling of prayers. What a scene of terror. Some of the German women forgot their newly acquired English and their cries in German were mixed with the weapings and wailing of the American born.

Pat removed his shirt and stood waiting for some one to dress his wound, when the sound of approaching horsemen were heard above the noise in the room. “Why, Pat, there is nothing the matter with your back,” said Mrs. Baldwin in a wondering manner.

“Sure now an’ don’t you s’pose that a man can feel himself –” In at the door rushed the body of Home Guards who who could no longer restrain themselves. How the little church rang with laughter which mingled with the prayers of the women. It was some time before they could convince the women that it was not a band of border ruffians.

Having seen what a coward Pat really was, the company had divided so that one part could get in ahead of the one with which Pat went, and conceal themselves in Lonely Hollow. Michael and Kelley who had helped to get up the scheme, told the rest of the men as they rode along, so that at the first fire, they all dropped from their horses and grabbed the reins. At the same time Kelley, who rode close to Pat, had thrown a stone which hit him in the back. It is needless to say that Patrick could no longer stay in that part of the country. He moved to Lawrence, where he was killed during Quantrell’s raid.

Lawrence Daily world (Lawrence, Kansas) May 7, 1897

The Great Grasshopper Raid

August 24, 2010

A variety of grasshopper plague related news spanning from 1819 through 1948, some of it reporting on the devastation, some explaining the methods used to try to limit the damage, mixed in with quite a bit of grasshopper humor that was published as well.

The Republican Compiler (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Sep 1, 1819

GRASSHOPPERS. — In the Southern and Western portions of this State the grasshoppers are doing considerable damage, already, to the crops, and the people are becoming discouraged with the present prospects. A gentleman from the Southwestern part of the State, informs us that the ground is completely covered with them, and still they come, not by the “hundred thousand more,” but by the millions. Emigration of this kind is not desired in Iowa.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) May 29 1868

Grasshoppers in the West.

EDITOR GAZETTE. — The old saying that “pestilence and famine follow war” is likely to be verified in our own country from present appearances on our Western frontier. I refer to the grasshopper plague, which is becoming a sad reality, as many of the farmers of Western Iowa are beginning to realize to their sorrow. — Living as I do in the border of what is known as the “grasshopper district,” (Boone County) and having had opportunities to post myself as to their movements and workings, I wish to say a few words to your readers, all of whom are directly interested in this subject.

During the month of August, 1867, millions of grasshoppers inhabiting the plains and Rocky Mountains took up a line of march across the continent, and by the middle of September reached from a point in Minnesota to the half of Mexico, covering the Western half of Iowa, Missouri, Arkansas and Louisiana, and the entire States of Nebraska, Kansas and Texas, also including Dacotah and Indian Territories and extending into Mexico. Much damage was done to crops last fall and millions of eggs were deposited for this years’ crop; and while in the colder regions the old “hopper cusses” perished with the severe winter, in the Southern climes not only the young crop, is now on hand, but the old ones still live to curse the country with their presence. In Arkansas the woods have been burnt this spring to destroy the plague and thus save the crops, but to little purpose.

The best information I can get from Western Iowa is that crops are being destroyed in many places totally and in other localities only partially as yet. Many pieces of wheat in Boone County, west of the Des Moines River are being plowed up, while others are completely destroyed, so much so that there is not a vestige of wheat left to show that then days since the prospect was good for a fair crop. The corn crop has also been attacked and on many farms entirely destroyed. Some farmers replant but others prefer to save what corn they have, considering it useless to throw it away by planting, as there is as yet no prospect fro a better state of affairs. The grasshoppers at present vary in size, from one-sixteenth of an inch to two inches in length, all of whom are busily engaged in destroying everything green in their reach.

Some idea may be obtained of their number by a little circumstance which occurred on the C.& N.W.R.R., near the Des Moines River a few days since, and lest some of your readers may question the truth of the statement, I will refer them for particulars to the officers of that company in charge of the Western Iowa Division. An engine started out of Moingonn with three empty cars, bound for one of the many coal mines in that valley. A little distance from town the train run into a mass of grasshoppers which so completely soaped the track that it was impossible to proceed. Backing up they started again and was again brought to a halt. This time they could neither go ahead or back and another engine was sent to their relief.

I see nothing to save the crops of that country. Should the hoppers cease work now, Western Iowa may average a half crop, but it is doubtful while the prospect is that they will continue their work for weeks yet, perhaps all summer, in which case, crops must be an entire failure throughout the grasshopper district.

The question has been asked me many times in this city, was to the course the hoppers will take at the close of the season. Of course no one can answer that question, but the supposition is that as they always travel with the wind, of necessity, and as the prevailing winds in the Western States are from the Southwest and West, they will probably continue their course easterly. We would of course much prefer that they take themselves back to the wilds of the rugged mountains, where

Lo, the poor Indian, whose untutored squaw,
Sees bliss in grasshoppers and devours them raw.

Should the farmers of Black Hawk County look up some day to see millions of insects fill the air as high as the sight can penetrate, so that the heavens shall present the appearance of a heavy fall of snow, they may calculate that one of the worst plagues of Egypt is upon them and that it will be more profitable next year to raise chickens than wheat.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Jun 19, 1868

The grasshoppers have invaded Utah, and the consequence is the invention by a Mormon of a “two-horse grasshopper smasher.”

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jul 15, 1871

EVERYTHING EATEN. — A gentleman who recently passed over the Sioux City & St. Paul road says that the grasshoppers have eaten thousands of the settlers in Minnesota out of house and home, and he saw men with their families at the stations begging to be passed to St. Paul so that they might work and earn something to live upon.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Jun 12, 1874

The Grasshopper.

Letters from one old townsman, Joe Wells, to his friends here, state that the grasshoppers are making a clean sweep in his vicinity in Palo Alto County. Joe has charge of some 400 acres of land the crops upon which were entirely destroyed last year; but with dogged perseverance he determined to “grin and bear it,” and this spring once more seeded the entire area only to see the pests return in such myriads as to sweep the ground clear of the last vestige of vegetation. This is a hard blow and visits upon him the entire loss of two years hard labor and upon A.A. Wells, who owns the land, a cash expenditure of nearly $2,00, without a dime’s return.

If riches don’t “take to themselves wings” in this case, it’s because grasshoppers can’t fly.

Another person writing from the afflicted country, says “it has been ascertained by careful count that this entire prairie was planted with grasshoppers eggs or in average of 1800 to the square foot, and most of the d____d things hatched twins — the rest triplets.” They have appeared in large numbers as far east as the country between Clarion and the Boone River, and our people need not be surprised to receive a visitation from the festive hopper as soon as he has tarried long enough for his wings &c. to grow. — Iowa Falls Sentinel

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Jun 19, 1874

Grasshopper Devastation (Image from

How the farmers of Wright county, Iowa drove away the  grasshoppers is revealed by the local papers The crops in that county were abundant, and the anxious husbandmen were in hopes that these destructive pests would not appear until after the harvest. At once they came, however, in clouds that darkened the sun. By a preconcerted plan, the farmers set fire to piles of dry straw on the borders of wheat fields, and smothered the blaze with green hay. That caused volumes of smoke to roll over the fields. The grasshoppers didn’t relish the procedure at all. They rose with such a multitudinous hum of wings as to deepen into a roar like distant thunder, and fled the country. In that way the Wright county farmers have a fair prospect of saving their crops.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Aug 4, 1874

Image from Wikinews

The Destructive Grass(w)hopper.

The editor of the Bucyrus Forum has been visiting in the west, and thus writes of the grasshopper pest:

Some forty miles west of Omaha we commenced seeing the ravages of the grasshoppers. We are fully warranted in saying that the half has never been told concerning the wide spread destruction of these insects. It cannot be told. When we assure our readers from actual observation  that we have seen hundreds of thousands of acres of corn that have been literally eaten up by them, we still fall short of the facts.

To particularize: These grasshoppers, which are smaller, blacker and more fierce than the varieties usually seen in Ohio, are so numerous that they resemble a dark cloud slowly moving over the prairie. They are migrators and do not remain long in one place, for the best of reasons — they leave no green thing on which to subsist. Corn, buckwheat, fruit, garden vegetables, leaves of trees and bushes, all are stripped. They attack a corn field of two or three hundred acres, in the morning, and before “high noon” not an ear, tassel or blade is left to tell the tale. Often the stocks are eaten down to within fifteen inches of the soil in which they grew. Frequently strings of grasshoppers from twelve to fifteen inches in length, may be seen hanging on the same ear of corn. It is no uncommon sight to see them two inches deep on the ground. In half an hour they eat all the paint from a Buckeye Reaper and Mower. The only exception we found they made on the farms was sorghum or Chinese sugar cane, which probably contained too much saccharine matter for their delicate appetites.

When crossing Railroads they frequently stop the trains, the unctious matter of their bodies when crushed on the rails, causing the wheels of the locomotives to revolve with the rapidity of lightning without making any progress. From the point where we first observed their ravages to Kearney, we did not see a single field that contained an ear of corn. That unfortunate country is as bare and destitute as if it had been swept by one of the historic prairie fires. The effect may be better imagined than described. We saw dozens of families returning in their covered wagons to their friends in the different states. Many are unable to return.

We learned that aid would be given out of the State Treasuries of Nebraska, Kansas and Missouri to alleviate the sufferings, and to prevent the general exodus of emigrants out of these States to their kindred and friends. Thousands of these people are in a most deplorable condition. Comforted a few days ago with the thought of a large and profitable crop with which to make payments on their land and supply themselves with the necessaries of life, they now find themselves destitute, far from “Home” and among strangers equally as unfortunate as themselves. As we saw the settled look of despondency sitting on the brows of the hard-working, callous-handed men of toil, and their wives and children whose eyes were red with weeping, we thought the original characters of Longfellow’s pathetic lines had re-appeared:

“Hungry is the air around them,
Hungry is the sky above them.
And the hungry stars in heaven,
Like the eyes of the wolves glare at them.”

It is generally believed here by those whose experience and judgment pass for authority that the grasshopper scourge will be short lived. We trust so. The weevil, chintz, and Colorado bug have had their day and are now but little feared.

The Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, Ohio) Oct 2, 1874

Congressman Orr, of this State, has secured the passage of a bill through the House allowing homestead and pre-emption settlers in Iowa, Minnesota, Nebraska, and Kansas, whose crops were destroyed or injured by grasshoppers in 1874, to leave and be absent from their lands till May, 1876, without prejudice to their rights. This is eminently just.

Cedar Falls Gazette (Cedar Falls, Iowa) Dec 18, 1874

KANSAS CITY, May 27. Rain has been falling here in torrents for the past twenty-four hours. It is reported to be general throughout the country. Some damage has been done to fences, railroads and crops. Great numbers of grasshoppers have been destroyed by the flood, as the Missouri river opposite the city is black with them, and it is thought the bulk of the insects in this vicinity have been destroyed. The feeling of dread is rapidly giving way to one of rejoicing, and Governor Hardin will doubtless be called on to issue a proclamation of thanksgiving instead of one for fasting and prayer.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) May 28, 1875

Mr. Grasshopper.

He laughs best who laughs last, says the proverb. The agile grasshopper of the western plains may find before he gets through this season’s business that he has carried his conquest too far and made himself an article of Western food, to the peril of all future generations of grasshoppers.

Some days ago the telegraph brought news that a grasshopper dinner had been eaten and relished by an adventurous party of gourmands at Warrensburgh, Missouri. Still later comes the report of another similar feast prepared with great care and critically enjoyed by a select company, including not only the leading local epicures, but several scientific gentlemen, among whom was Prof. Riley, the State entomologist. A bushel or more of “hoppers” were scooped up in an adjacent meadow and a talented cook especially engaged for the purpose brought them to the gridiron. They were stewed into soup, broiled crisp and dainty as smelts; they were fried in the omnipresent grease of the frontier, and baked in mass with curry and “champignons,” and in all these forms were pronounced delicious.

John the Baptist, who ate locusts and wild honey in the wilderness, was accused of riotous living. If this sort of thing goes on for a time it will be useless for the grasshopper sufferers of the far West to work up much sympathy in other States, or gather future subscriptions for food. Simply let them corral the insouciant hopper in their fields, bake him, broil him, and serve him up on toast; let them salt him down in barrels for winter use, and bid gaunt-eyed famine defiance. If the locusts insist upon eating up everything, let them be taught that there are two kinds of creatures who can play at that game.

The Ohio Democrat (New Philadelphia, Ohio)Jun 24, 1875

The farmers in Missouri and Kansas are elated at the discovery of a new kind of buffalo grass springing up in sections devastated by the grasshoppers. The crops in both States are represented to be in a promising condition.

The Fitchburg Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Jul 12, 1875

GRASSHOPPERS have been a burden so long that it is a relief to know that a use has been found for them at last. Some French fishermen, who were lately out of sardine bait, discovered that grasshoppers dried and pounded were just the thing; and hundreds of bags filled with the festive ‘hopper are being imported into France for fish bait. Here, in future, may be found an employment for our home-made ‘hoppers. We cannot all eat them, like Prof. Riley and his brother scientists, and the next best use is to make them provide us with something we can eat.

Globe Democrat.

Decatur Daily Republican (Decatur, Illinois) Apr 14, 1876

Grasshopper Trapper

Image from The Plague of 1875 in the Longmont Ledger.

A New Discovery.

An Iowa man had discovered that the very best of machine oil can be made out of grasshoppers, at a cost only from fifty cents to a dollar per barrel. If such machine oil will only stop the squeaking of ‘machine’ politics it will be worth five dollars per barrel at least. And if the grasshopper can be made into oil, why not that oil into butter better than oleomargarine; and if into oleomargarine, why not, by subtle chemical processes, into creamy butter to fatten the white loaves and lard the tender steaks of the provident. Hoppergrass butter is not an impossible extract or compound, if it be proven that oil can be fried or pressed from their bodies; and the song of “When the cows come lowing home” will be superceded by “When the locusts have gone to roost, Phoebe!”

If in the economy of nature even the perturbing flea has utility, surely the grasshopper, whose demoralizing super abundance afflicts the sad farmer of the West with countless agitations may be converted, by schemes of science, into lubricating food, or at least into anointments for the hair and shoes, and for the neater and better appropriation of an insect plague. Of course such discoveries weaken the work of the Grasshopper Commission; but we trust that the Iowa man will continue to rack his brain and the grasshopper until both shall bring “peace to troubled waters,” and oil to the ways up which “”Hope springs eternal” in the human breast.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) Apr 21, 1877

Image from The Grasshopper Plague of 1874 on the Kansas State Historical Society website.

Character and Habits of the Grasshopper.

[From the Faribault Republican]

We have received a circular from the publishers of the New York Graphic asking us for information as to the character, habits, movements and depredations of the locusts of the West, to be embodied in an illustrated supplement they are about to issue. We much dislike to disappoint any one who appeals to us in a candid spirit for information, and we therefore, cheerfully contribute from our abundance:

1. As to the character of the grasshopper, it is bad. Like the deadbeat that he is, he eats his landlord out of house and home and then skips. He is a thief, poacher, robber, glutton and an unmitigated nuisance.

2. The grasshopper has three habits which it adheres to faithfully. In fact, if anything is the creature of habit it is the grasshopper. The first is to hatch under any circumstances; this is a point of honor and duty that it faithfully observes. The second is to eat and eat continuously. From the rising of the sun until the going down thereof it crams its abdomen with victuals, and its digestion is equal to its appetite. It always eats at the first table, for it clears it so clean that there is no chance for a second. Its third habit is to lay eggs, and all the time not devoted to eating is improved in this recreation. How many eggs a well-developed, healthy grasshopper will lay has never been accurately stated, but the Government has a lightning calculator now at work upon the problem.

3. With respect to its movements we are enabled to state that it moves frequently and takes all its baggage with it except the aforesaid eggs. It moves hastily, “gets up and gets,” so to speak, on very short notice and the simple provocation of lack of sustenance. No habit of the grasshopper excites so much interest in the farmer as its movement, and the interest is concentrated in the point whether the ‘hopper is moving towards or away from his farm.

4. His depredations: This is a profound mathematical problem, of which the total number of grasshoppers, the amount each will consume on the average per day, their rate of progress and the amount of forage to be found in the counties where they stop, are essential elements in the calculation. We would respectfully refer the Graphic to the Government commission for information upon this branch of its inquiry.

Nevada State Journal (Reno, Nevada) May 23, 1877

The grasshoppers were at one time pretty thick this year in Richardson county, Nebraska, so the farmers set seven hundred grasshopper machines in motion, and they have succeeded in scooping up 2,800 bushels of lively insects. One set of laborers in Nomah also cleaned up 150 bushels. This shows that the farmers are turning the tables on the ‘hoppers and are gathering them in instead of allowing them to gather the crops. It also shows that the farmers can do much towards saving their crops, it they only try.

The Helena Independent (Helena, Montana) Jul 26, 1877

Image from the  Rural Missouri website’s article: Louses & Locusts.

Grasshopper Eggs.

Mr. Cunningham showed a GAZETTE reporter a small box of earth yesterday which was taken from his ranch in Sierra Valley. In it were myriads of grasshopper eggs. There seemed as much eggs as earth, and the roots of several bunches of grass were thickly imbedded with them. The eggs are of a brownish white in appearance, and about a quarter of an inch in length. Mr. Cunningham said the box of earth shown was a fair sample of all the soil in Sierra Valley, every yard of it permeated with millions of the larvae. Unless the insects migrate after hatching, every green thing in the valley is doomed.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno, Nevada) Apr 23, 1879

Grasshopper Sparrow

Image from the World News website.


The great grasshopper raid upon Nebraska and Kansas a few years ago led to the better protection of birds, particularly quail. Previous to that time both sportsmen and professional hunters from all the cities of the Union took a yearly hunt and the slaughter of quails, ducks and turkeys was almost incredible. Tons upon tons were shipped into Chicago and St. Louis and even New York and Philadelphia. The result was, the grasshoppers had their own way and multiplied exceedingly. The quail is particularly fond of both grasshoppers and their eggs, and where they are at all numerous the destruction is enormous.

They are besides a valuable article of food and add not only to the dainty table of the rich, but help to fill the poor man’s pot as well. In addition to these uses the quail is a game bird of the first order and commands the skill of both man and dog in its capture.

We publish a column of letters from the Chicago Field on the migratory quail of southern Europe, which we hope may prove both interesting and profitable under the present circumstances. We very much fear that the Truckee meadows are doomed to be overrun in 1880 to some extent, and in 1881 and 1882, very seriously by the grasshopper.

We do not expect that any addition to the stock of birds in Nevada and eastern California could be made in time to serve in the crisis, but they will get a good hold and be a great help in future years. They will flourish and increase beyond all doubt.

Reno Evening Gazette (Reno., Nevada) Jun 2, 1879

In view of the threatened invasion of Kansas by the grasshoppers next year, it is comforting to reflect that the country is swarming with English sparrows, which were imported especially to eat grasshoppers.

Atchison Daily Globe ( Atchison, Kansas) Aug 2, 1885

Grasshoppers Colorado Springs 1899

Image posted by FuzzyTomCAt


HELENA, ARK., November 20. — About 4:30 o’clock last evening this place was visited with a shower of grasshoppers that proved an astonishing feature to the oldest inhabitants, as such a thing had never been seen here before. As they fell on the houses it sounded like a heavy shower of rain. All the stores and houses had to be closed to keep the insects out. The negroes were badly frightened, and most of them claim that it is a bad omen. A cold wave struck the town early last evening and brought the grasshoppers with it. It is very fortunate that this incident did not happen earlier in the fall, as it would have proved very destructive to the crops.

Atchison Daily Globe (Atchison, Kansas) Nov 21, 1885

Image from Family Tree Magazine.

Grasshoppers in Indiana.

DECATUR, Ind., May 15. — Grasshoppers have appeared in this (Adams) county in vast numbers. Never in the history of this section have these pests been seen in such great numbers. Recently a farmer brought in a large farm basket filled with grasshoppers, which he shipped to Chicago and for which he received the rate of $8 a bushel.

Conjecture is rife in this city as to what the purchaser intends to do with the hoppers. As they were sent near the Board of Trade building some conclude the pests are to be used to influence the market in cereals. It will  doubtless be a grasshopper year in this section.

The Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) May 16, 1886

Grasshoppers’ Foe.

Minneapolis, Minn. — A cricket in the field is worth two on the hearth. His once doleful fiddling now is music to the ear of the farmer of the northwest. So doubtless muses M.P. Somers, grasshopper expert for the state department of entomology, after a summer-long investigation in the grasshopper infested districts of Minnesota and the Red river valley. The cricket is declared by Mr. Somers to have an insatiable appetite for grasshopper eggs and is eating them by the millions.

Sheboygan Press (Sheboygan, Wisconsin) Sep 27 1911


WILLOWS, Cal., Jun 29. — (By International News Service.) — Moving forward at the rate of a mile a day, an immense swarm of grasshoppers is now near Artois and moving eastward toward the Orland irrigation project. Farmhouse porches have been covered to a depth of nearly a foot by the insects, which are the small species.

Grasshopper plagues in other sections of northern California have also been reported.

Billings Gazette (Billings, Montana) Jun 30, 1919

Now for something scientific:

WASHINGTON, Dec. 9. (AP) — An elaborate process so intricate that nature alone can guide it to perfection, is credited for the survival of American agriculture.

The tremendous scheme, revealed by Dr. N.A. Cobb, federal chief nematologist, is built around the subtle function of the Mermis subnigrescens, commonly called the hairworm. Years of study and investigation have convinced Dr. Cobb and his associates, whose work has been assisted by approximately 150 of the nation’s foremost zoologists and entemologists, that grasshoppers, in limitless hordes and a thousand species, would devour practically every farm crop but for hairworm parasitization.

An avaricious enemy, the nema enters the grasshopper’s body when it swallows eggs of the hairworm, matures there, and bores its way out. The grasshopper dies from the wound.

Every Detail

Nature has perfectly correlated every detail. The nematizing process is as ruthless and deliberate as premeditated murder. Instinct forces the grasshopper to feed several inches from the ground, on the exposed surface of plant leaves. To make sure the victim is trapped, the female hairworm is so constituted that she cannot lay eggs in a shadow. Emerging from the ground in the spring, she ascends to a position well lighted by the sun, irrevocably the spot on which grasshoppers feed.

An overdose of eggs would cause premature death for the grasshopper. It must live until the nematode has reached an adult stage, and nature makes it her business to see that is does. Twenty eggs may be deposited in one place, but each egg is equipped with polar filaments that become entangled with the “fur” of young leaf hairs. As the leaf grows and the hairs spread apart, the eggs become sufficiently scattered to keep the grasshopper from getting more than two or three eggs during the entire feeding season.

The contents of a grasshopper’s alimentary canal are eliminated approximately once every hour. IN that time the hairworm larvae must work from the egg into cavities of the victim’s body, there to thrive on the food it has digested. Again nature is prepared. The equatorial region of the nema egg is composed of a substance soluable in less than an hour.

Color Scheme

An even more astounding circumstance, leading scientists to believe environment may be responsible for determination of sex, enters nature’s colorful scheme. Female hairworms, growing from half an inch to six inches in length in six weeks, usually are many times larger than male nemas. Whether it is because of limited room to develop in the grasshopper’s body or because of insufficient food supply, the hairworms, regardless of the sex propensity in the larvae, always become male when a large number of eggs are swallowed and as invariably are females when the number is limited.

In every case, Dr. Cobb says, a parasitized grasshopper immediately becomes sterile. Tests have shown that fields attacked by nematized grasshoppers are free of the pests in following years or until uninfested grasshoppers from adjacent territory invade them. That, he says, explains “grasshopper waves” in this country.

The Evening Huronite (Huron, South Dakota) Dec 9, 1927

Watertown Sieged By G’hoppers

Watertown  (AP) –Clouds of grasshoppers invaded Watertown and the surrounding countryside over the weekend and yesterday began attacking corn and vegetable crops.
The invaders rode on the waves of Lake Ontario in the Chaumont area Sunday, swarmed over the beaches, docks and summer cottages, driving vacationers indoors.

Farm Bureau officials here said the insects already are making inroads on crops, but that damage so far in not extensive. It is the worst grasshopper invasion in ten years, officials said.

The base of operations for the grasshoppers’ is not known, but the Farm Bureau said they were larger than recently hatched insects, and therefore probably are not local products.

This belief was strengthened by reports from Chaumont that large patches of the pests were seen floating in from the lake. When they reached shore they swarmed inland.

The city of Watertown was less attacked than rural areas of Jefferson County, but thousands descended upon the city, especially on the golf course.

The Farm Bureau notified farmers that poison bait made of wheat bran, molasses and arsenic is the only safe way to halt the pests. A sufficiently strong concentration of DDT would harm crops also, the bureau.  [said?]

Oneonta Star (Oneonta, New York) Aug 24, 1948

The Radical Colonel Jennison

May 25, 2010

Charles R. Jennison (Image from


According to the Leavenworth Conservative, Col. Jennison delivered at Paola, Kansas, on the 8th September, the following speech:

I am here to-night to speak to soldiers and men capable of making soldiers. I am after men who want to be soldiers in the Army of the Lord — or any other army. I’ll take off this coat of mine right here, because it belongs to a man over in Missouri. And I will say further that the man who owned that coat will never put in any claim for it. This county has done its full duty in this war. You will find the true men of Kansas buried on every battle-field, and you will never find that a single one has disgraced himself or the State. If a private soldier has retreated it has been because his officers were cowards. I challenge any State to produce a record as glorious and gallant as that of Kansas. I am ashamed to ask this county to send forth a single other man. But we must fight again or leave our homes exposed to the enemies of Kansas and of freedom. We will not sacrifice our homes or our principles.

I tell you it is a shame and a disgrace for us to allow a man even to think of treason on the soil of Kansas. If you have such men among you, hang them for thinking it. I am here to ask Abe Lincoln to remove from power every General who is not an unconditional and radical Union man. I pray that he will never hereafter appoint any conservative man. And if he does, I pray to God that he will strike them dead. That’s my constitutional prayer. I am a conservative man to-night, but if I ever get a show at these rebels again I will make up for it. The men of Kansas enlist from principle and not from policy. Our people, old and young, must be in the service or they will not be protected. Your present border army is powerless to exterminate the guerrillas. I can take five hundred men and set it at defiance. The people of Kansas are at the mercy of this conservative policy. Abe Lincoln has been deceived and misguided by Old Gumble and his pimps. That’s where Old Abe and I differ. If he had taken my proclamation, this war would have been ended two years ago.

Do you suppose I will march into Missouri and ask them to take the oath? No — not by a damned sight. If they have protection papers, I will hang them, for real Union men need no written proof of their loyalty. In my next proclamation I will say to every physically able man in the State of Missouri, “You must fight for your homes or you will be put to death.” And the head of the column will make the road so clear that no Copperhead shall ever see the tail end of the command. We will bury the Dred Scott decision bottom side up, and tell them that Copperheads have no rights which loyal men are bound to respect. I put the negro on top and the traitor underneath. Every disloyalist, from a Shang-hai chicken to a Durham cow, must be cleaned out. Adopt this policy and there will be no more Copperheads in Kansas.

You did not fear any invasion from Missouri when Jennison’s regiment was on the border. The officers of that regiment were not closeted up in parlors or sleeping on beds of down when Quantrell and Hayes were on their trail. They were in the saddle, killing traitors, and thus guarding your homes and mine. I don’t denounce any General or any officer, but somebody is responsible for the blood of these innocent children, murdered through their neglect. The motto of my regiment shall be “Death to traitors and freedom to all men.” I will never cease to exterminate rebels until the people of Kansas cry, “Hold, enough!” I say to the colored men, go fight for your country. Fight for yourselves and we will fight for you. To white men I say, enlist in some regiment, but enlist. The 14th is as gallant a regiment as ever was raised, and you will not hurt my feelings by joining it. But enlist somewhere, and thus protect your homes. The 15th will be filled within three weeks from to-day. Its whole duty will be to kill rebels.

A Voice — Have you got the horses?

Jennison — I never had any trouble in the old 7th in getting all the horses I wanted. All the trouble I ever had was in preventing the boys (and particularly old Pardee, over there) from leading off six or seven! But my men must not take anything that will not further the interests of his own regiment. Every man must, of course, be his own judge. This regiment will march with the revolver in one hand and the torch in the other. It will be organized on a military and patriotic, and not on a political basis. We carry the flag, kill with the sabre, and hang with the gallows.

Morning Oregonian (Portland, Oregon) Oct 21, 1863


Read more about Jennison (and other Jayhawkers,)  from the Southern perspective HERE. Scroll about halfway down to : B. Terror in Missouri, The Jayhawkers, Red Legs, Lane, and Jennison.

Poetry in Advertising

November 9, 2009


Hark! hark! ’tis SOZODONT I cry
Haste youths, and maidens, come and buy.
Come and a secret I’ll unfold,
At small expense to young and old.
A charm that will on both bestow
A ruby lip, and teeth like snow.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Jun 25, 1884


Hie, lads and lassies hie away
Nor brook a single hour’s delay,
If you would carry in your mouth
White teeth, and odors of the south.
Haste, haste, and buy a single font
Of the unrivalled SOZODONT.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Aug 13, 1882

men shampoo 1893


This is the poem, which is hard to read on the above image:

Yes, barber, what you say is true,
I need a number one shampoo,
And came in, as I always do,
Because I can rely on you
To choose pure Ivory Soap, in lieu
Of soaps ol divers form and hue
From use of which such ills ensue.

Well, sir, we barbers suffer too,
From humbug articles, and rue
That we have tried before we knew
Poor toilet frauds to which are due
More scalp-diseases than a few.
I know we are the safer who
Use Ivory Soap for a shampoo.

Carroll Sentinel (Carroll, Iowa) Oct 3, 1893

santa claus soap1890


The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) Jun 11, 1890


The Georgia Buggy Co. 39 S. Broad St., 34-36 S. Forsyth St.

In the dead hour of night,
While sleeping with all your might,
The Genii made a sweeping flight,
And took the street cars out of sight.

In this hour of dire distress
The public their indignation express;
You to the courts go for redress
And get a forty-eight hour request.

To our friends we kindly advise,
Let the street cars go in demise,
Buy a vehicle, which is wise,
And show the boss your despise;

If not street cars by the door,
You have carpets on your floor;
To and from work you can go
In a fine vehicle bought low
At the only Georgia Buggy Co.

LAST WEEK the buyers kept us busy from start to finish. Mighty bad weather though for imitators to be left out in the cold. The Georgia Buggy Co.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Mar 8,  1896



How sweet to love,
But Oh! how bitter,
To love a gal,
And then not git her!
And know the only
Reason why
Is because you didn’t
The furniture buy
Of Stowers.

203 West Commerce street.

San Antonio Light (San Antonio, Texas) Jul 25, 1897

This one is my favorite:

Machine Poetry.

Dear friends, we are modest, decidedly so,
But sometimes our pen at random will go;
And we now feel inclined to let the thing run,
And write a short notice abounding with fun.

Our neighbors, good fellows, who are all on the track,
Cry “Hurrah for the West!” and never look back;
And not wishing to linger or fall in the rear,
We crave for a moment your poetic ear.

Our scribbling we think resembles the kind
Once written by Homer, the man that was blind;
But only like his in regard to the eyes;
Not at all Homer-like viewed otherwise.

He wrote with gravity, candor and sense;
We write for the purpose of getting the pence;
And if we succeed, and obtain our desire,
We’ll throw down our pen, make our bow, and retire.

The facts of the case we are willing to tell;
We have a few things we are anxious to sell;
And we take this queer way of letting you know
That you don’t save the coppers if by us you go.

Of Superfine Flour we have “piles” upon “piles,”
To supply all our friends for a circuit of miles;
We sell on commission for a profit quite small,
Believe what we say, and give us a call.

Of Sugar we have not a very small “heap,”
Which we are selling quite fast, for we’re selling it cheap.
One dollar will buy eight pounds of the sweet;
And now the dear children may have cookies to eat.

Of Coffee and Spices we have a supply,
That are fine for the palate and nice to the eye;
Ground or unground, roasted or not,
Cinnamon fragrant, and Black Pepper hot.

If Fremont‘s elected, and for it we hope,
For the disappointed ones we’ve plenty of Soap
To cleanse their long faces and banish their tears,
And keep them contented for at least eight years.

Saleratus and Soda, and Teas you may find;
Cream Tartar in packages just to your mind;
Caps,Percussion, by the box, the thousand or more,
You can have whenever you visit our Store.

In the Furniture line we make no pretensions,
But we have some chairs of ample dimensions,
Which are faithfully made and painted nice,
And are offered for sale at a very low price.

Nails, Sash, and Glass we have always on hand,
For those who are building in this glorious land.
Six cents for the Sash, for the Glass four and a half,
And Nails at a price that will make you all laugh.

Do you want Gunpowder, and a little cold Lead,
To finish old Bruin with a ball in his head?
Come along with your shot gun, revolver, and rifle,
And we’ll fill up your horns and ask but a trifle.

We have Salt by the barrel, and Syrup so nice
That if you trade with us once we know you will twice.
Dried Apples we sell to those who like pies,
And Cheese that would dazzle an epicure’s eyes.

Of Nicknacks and Notions, such as Baskets and Matches,
Warm Coats and thick Pants for those who hate patches,
With Mittens and Gloves, and Cotton and Thread,
We have a few left, and a Comb for the head.

And now, kind friend, we propose to retreat
From the stomach and back and come down to the feet;
Just after our measure, our metre, and time,
And give you some sense along with the rhyme.

When Mother Eve in Paradise was staying,
And ‘midst those shady walks and sparkling fountains playing,
‘Tis said that she revolted, (what a shame!)
Then took fig leaves, made aprons of the same,
Ingeniously attempting thus to cover
Herself and guilty man half over.

Banished from Eden’s calm and blest retreat,
She wandered forth with unprotected feet;
To scorching sand her pedals were exposed,
And, grov’ling in the dust, spread out her ten fair toes.
A flaming sword hung o’er those scenes of sacred mirth;
Barefoot and sad she trod the sin-cursed earth.

How long her children wailed and wanted Shoes,
Is no recorded by our homely muse.
One fact is clear: No longer need they weep,
For Boots and Shoes, nice, strong, and cheap,
To suit the foot and please the eye,
We have to sell just when they please to buy.

We keep on a corner where two roads meet,
And when your faces there we greet,
With treatment kind and prudent pay,
We’ll send you smiling on your way.

Richland Center, November 3, 1856.

Richland County Observer (Richland, Wisconsin) Nov 18, 1856



Let Stutchfield, Hoyt, and all the rest,
Boast of  their wares the very best,
But if you wish to make a trade,
Call at my shop, where ready made,
And made ‘pon honor, you’ll be sure
To find all kinds of Furniture
Bedsteads — the plan best e’er invented —
On which a man may rest contented.
On which bugs, white, black or yellow,
Fleas, dogs or snakes, ne’er bite a fellow
Its match you ne’er saw in your life,
It opens and shuts just like a knife.
My neighbor says, “If I had tools,
I’d make a few to gull the fools,”
But mine, when tried, you’ll surely find
Will suit a very different mind
Come, get a little wife, young man,
And a bedstead made on my new plan,
You’ll want some Chairs, a Table and Settee,
A Boston for the wife, a Crib for the baby.
My prices, too, so very low,
You’ll wonder why you waited so.
Bring your Lumber, or Cash in hand,
Opposite the Old Whyler Stand.


Norwalk, Oct. 10, 1849

thompson acrostic

Acrostic Advertising


jacob leu stoves

Acrostic Advertising #2


The Globe (Atchison, Kansas) Jan 18, 1878


Gresham’s Answer to Queen Lil
When I received your cablegram
I thought I sure would faint
For though I often used Parks’ Teas
‘Tis not for your complaint.
I feared that Mrs. G. would think
Wrong about our connection
Till on her dresser there I saw
Parks’ Tea for her complexion.

Sandusky Register (Sandusky, Ohio) Sep 13, 1894

Abraham Lincoln: Industrious, Clever, Ugly

February 11, 2009



Travels All the Way from Berlin for This Year’s Celebration.

Here is a new Lincoln story that has never been published. It was told to a Chicago man a few weeks ago by a gentleman living in Berlin, Germany:

Two hero worshipers had long desired to meet Abraham Lincoln, but when they coveted privilege was finally granted they were unspeakably disappointed in the personality of the rail-splitting President. They gazed at him in silence and then one of them exclaimed in a dissatisfied voice:

“Why, Lincoln is just a common looking man like us!”

“The great emancipator turned to the speaker and said genially:

“Yes, my friend, but I have the consolation of knowing that God loves common looking men!”

“How do you make that out?” queried the other interestedly.

“Oh, because he made so many of them!”



She Married Him Because He Was the Ugliest Man She Ever Saw.

Mr. Lincoln used to take great delight in telling how he gained a knife by his ugly looks. That story has been published, but I have not seen another in print, telling how he gained his wife, says a well-known writer. Mrs. Lincoln was a beautiful lady, attractive, sharp, witty and relished a joke even at her own expense. She was staying with her sister, Mrs. Edwards. She had not been there long before everybody knew Miss Mary Todd. She often said: “When a girl I thought I would not marry until I could get one of the handsomest men in the country, but since I became a woman I learned I can’t get such men, which has caused me to change my mind. I have concluded to marry the ugliest-looking man I can find.”

Later on Lincoln came to town. She had never seen him before she met him on the street. She was told who he was and went home and told her sister she had seen her man., “the ugliest man I ever saw — Abraham Lincoln — and I am going to set my cap for him.” That became a common saying in street gossip. When they were married, instead of taking a bridal trip, they went to a hotel and took board at $4 a week.

When he got able he bought a lot for $200, and built a four-roomed house costing less than $1,000. When he received $5,000 from his great railroad case he spent $1,500 of it in putting a second story on his house, and there he lived until he went to Washington.


Lincoln’s Logic.

It is said that Lincoln’s acuteness in analysis and logical powers were traceable to his complete mastery of Euclid’s propositions. Certainly whenever he attempted to prove or disprove a thing he did it. A story told by United States Judge C.G. Foster, and printed in the Syracuse Standard, illustrates his logical faculty.

In the winter before Lincoln was nominated for President he visited Kansas, and made speeches at Troy and Atchison. At the hotel in Atchison where he stayed, Gen. Stringfellow, John A. Martin and Judge Foster called upon him. In the course of the conversation Mr. Lincoln turned to Gen. Stringfellow, who played a prominent part in the effor to bring Kansas into the Union as a slave State.

“Gen. Stringfellow,” he said., “you pro-slavery fellows gave as one reason why slavery should not be prohibited in Kansas that only the negro could break up the tough prairie sod. Now, I’ve broken hundreds of acres of prairie sod in my time, and the only question which remains to be decided is whether I am a white man or a negro.”

Gen. Stringfellow laughingly admitted the force of the quaint argument, and congratulated Mr. Lincoln upon his pointed, logical way of putting things.



How the Immortal “Abe” Won His Early Successes at the Bar.

A suit was brought in the United States Court in Springfield against a citizen for an infringement of a patent right. Mr. Lincoln went to the most skilled architect in the city, inquired how he spent his winter evenings, and received the reply: “If time are brisk I sometimes work; otherwise I have no special business.” Mr. Lincoln said: “I have a patent right case in court; I want you as a partner, and will divide fees. I know nothing about mechanics — never made it a study. I want you to make a list of the best works on mechanism, as I don’t suppose they can be purchased here. I will furnish the money, and you can send to Chicago or New York for them. I want you to come to my house one night each week and give me instructions.” In a short time he had witnesses to meet him, and they were thoroughly drilled. When the trial commenced, Mr. Lincoln put his questions at the cross-examination so scientifically that many witnesses were bothered to reply. When his witnesses were put on the stand, so skillful were his questions that the court, the jury and the bar wondered how “Abe” Lincoln knew so much about mechanism. His witnesses could reply promptly. He gained the suit and a reputation such that Mr. Lincoln was sustained in every patent right case brought into that court, up to the time he went to Washington. He went to Chicago, St. Louis, Iowa, Ohio, Kentucky and Michigan to try patent right cases, and the last year of his practice did little else. –Thomas Lewis’ “Recollections of Lincoln,” in Leslie’s Weekly.

The Daily Herald (Chicago, Illinois) Feb 9, 1901

May Colvin: She was Fond of Horses

January 8, 2009
May Colvin, Horse Thief

May Colvin, Horse Thief

This is the first in what will be a series of articles on horse thieves,  featured every Thursday.

May Colvin Does Not Hesitate to Appropriate Her Neighbor’s Nags.
Kansas holds the trumps in the game of horse stealing. She has outdone all other states in the line of phenomenal thieves and still has a few, despite the known fact that her Anti-Horse Thief association is noted for carelessness of life in dealing with thieves. In truth, there is a proverb in the southern boarder counties that a murderer has a much better chance of life than a horse thief; yet Washington Waterman, famous as the octogenarian horse thief, died last year in the Kansas state prison at the age of 92 and in the first year of a 20 year sentence, and now a handsome miss of 18 years is awaiting her second trial for a similar crime.

May Colvin is the name of this heroine of darkness, and her home was with her parents near Thayer, Mo., till her mania for horseflesh made her a fugative. A true mania it is, no doubt, for she steals fine horses and gallops away on them without thought of the consequences. In early womanhood she showed such a passionate desire to fondle and caress fine horses that the neighbors declared she was insane, and her father, evidently not a very wise father, resorted to hard whipping and close confinement. She was then 17 and took to thieving.

Entering a neighbor’s barn in the night, she bridled and saddled the first animal that sped her away from its owner, and she has since been either a refugee or a prisoner. After perpetrating several successful thefts and adroitly eluding the officers of each locality in which she operated, she made her appearance in Fort Scott last summer and was for a short time known as a girl of the town. Suddenly she disappeared, and with her a fine buggy and valuable trotting mare from Louis Albright’s livery stable. She drove all night and the next day and was heard of three days later at Weir City, Kan., where she was captured and the animal recovered.

Here was a queer case, and the prosecuting attorney decided to rate it as one of true mania. She made an attempt to escape by sawing off one of the bars of her cage with a steel saw procurred from a fellow prisoner, but was frustrated at the vital moment. Hon. Eugene F. Ware, known among Kansas writers as “Ironquill,” made an earnest plea for her, and the prosecuting attorney was induced to nolle pros the case against her. Consequently she was released from jail immediately.

In less than 12 hours she was on the dead run behind a span of stolen horses and a buggy taken from a farmer’s barn in Crawford county. With insane daring she drove to Fort Scott, called on some of her fast friends, then drove furiously on to Nevada, Mo., where she put the stolen team in a livery barn as security for another team, with which she continued her journey, she cared not where.

Another day, however, found her in the grasp of the sheriff of Vernon county, Mo., just as she was driving into Irwin, Boston county, and she is now a prisoner in the jail of Crawford county, Kan., where the next to the last theft was committed.

And now the question is, What shall be done with her? It is perhaps worth noting that the women say, “She ought to be hanged,” while about half the men say, “Poor thing.” She is pretty, that’s certain, and aside from her peculiar mania seems to be ordinarily bright and sensible. Nevertheless a year or two of quiet life, honest industry and strict moderation in the use of rich food — just such advantages as she will enjoy in the Kansas penitentiary — will doubtless go far to cure her.

The Anti-Horse Thief association has recently effected several very sudden and radical cures of male patients, and the only wonder is that in such a country Washington Waterman lived so long. That man served five full terms in Missouri and Kansas penitentiaries, yet kept right on stealing horses and died in prison, as aforesaid, at the age of 92. Truly he was “possessed.”

The News (Frederick, Maryland)  Mar 4, 1893


Female Horse Thief Captured
FORT SCOTT Kan. June 19 — May Colvin the female horse thief who escaped from the Carthage (Mo.) jail last Friday, has been captured by the officers and posse of citizens who were in pursuit.

Bismarck Daily Tribune (Bismarck, North Dakota) June 20, 1893

May Colvin, who escaped from the jail at Carthage, Mo., where she was confined for horse stealing, was recaptured on the border of Indian Territory.

The Salem Daily News (Salem, Ohio) June 21, 1893


She is May Colvin, an Ozark Girl of 18, and as Pretty as a Picture.
The female department of the penitentiary undoubtedly furnishes the most depraved types of humanity. Primarily the partiality of courts and juries for women characterizes every judical system of civilization, and so it must be a depraved and dangerous woman indeed whom a jury of Americans will sentence to penal servitude.

Decidedly the most unique personality of the female population of the prison is May Colvin. May is only 18 years old and is a rustic beauty. Dress her in the gorgeous paraphernalia of Lillian Russell and she would be a more brilliant beauty than that stage celebrity. She has great blue eyes and a mass of touseled hair of Titian tint. Her form is luscious — well rounded and plump — and her cheeks are red with the vigorous life of the Ozarks, whence she came. Her mouth is one that an impressionable artist would go wild over, with its cherry red lips of sensuous curves, the whole forming the most perfect Cupid’s bow. And, withal, May is a horse thief and doesn’t deny it. Certainly the confinement in the penitentiary has brought out her native beauty, that must have been blurred or obscured by her exposure to all sorts of rough weather while fleeing over the plains and mountains of the southwest from the officers or else no jury could have ever been induced to giver her a term in prison, especially for so common and plebeian an offense as stealing horses.

But May is not only a horse thief, but a jail breaker as well by her own confession. Her feat in breaking from the jail at Girard, Kan., where she was confined about two years ago for horse stealing, her escape to Jasper county, Mo., and her subsequent capture there and prosecution on an old charge will be recalled by the readers of newspapers.

“Well, I have no hard luck story to tell,” was the way May greeted The Republic representative. “They made no mistake in my case. Nearly everybody else in here is innocent, according to their own statement, but I’m not. I’m here for horse stealing.”

“When I heard you were here and wanted to see me, I thought you were an officer from Girard, Kan., and wanted to take me back there for breaking out of jail. I’m glad you are not, but I guess they’ll come for me as soon as my term is out here, which will be in about 14 months if I behave myself. I’ve been a pretty good girl since I’ve been here. The reason for it, I guess, is that I haven’t had a chance to be bad. However, I’ve so managed to break the rules as to be put in the dark room two or three times. But I’m going to behave myself from now on so I can get the benefit of the three-fourths rule.”

“I don’t know why I’ve turned out so bad unless it is that it was just born in me. My mother is a good woman, only 35 years old now, a member of the Methodist church and has been married three times. She raised me right, and my father, who is a dentist, was always kind and indulgent to me. I went to the public schools in Webb City until I was 16, and then the devilment began to crop out in me. I don’t know why either.”

“Nobody ever taught me any wrong. I’m not like other women, either, in blaming my downfall on any man.”
–St. Louis Republic.

The Daily Northwestern (Oshkosh, Wisconsin) June 14, 1894

Tragedy on the Texas Frontier

December 30, 2008
Comanche Men

Comanche Men

Here is a news account of a family from Kansas, who had just arrived by covered wagon to start a new life on the Texas frontier, when a violent incident changed their lives forever.

Western Texas.
(From the Sedalia Bazoo.)
A family, consisting of a man and wife and three children, passed through this city this morning, slowly wending their way northward to their old home in Ralls county. They were in a covered wagon, and had a team which, some day, had been a good one; but its travel-worn appearance, together with the jaded look of the travelers, attracted the attention of a Bazoo reporter, who elicited the following particulars of their journey to the western portion of Texas — and how their number was now one less than when they started from their Ralls county home:

Mr. Ressler was a well-to-do farmer, who in an early day went to the State of California, and by hard work amassed what he considered a sufficiency for a good start in farming life. He returned home to Missouri, married and settled down to regular farming life.

This spring, when emigration commenced Texaswards, the old fever which had taken him to California in 1851 began to rage, and although he had a good home he grew restless, and concluded to try his fortune in Texas.

He was looking for cheap lands, and passed through Grayson county west into Cook and out into the western portion of Montague county. This country, though wild and subject to frequent incursions of the nomadic tribes of Indians that infest the western border, is rather rich and full of game. Mr. Ressler pitched his camp on a little stream, near a good spring, some four or five miles from any habitation, and little dreamed of danger.

On the fourth day of their stay there, the oldest daughter, a young lady of seventeen, went to the spring for a bucket of water, but, alas! she never came back.

One scream like that of the surprised panther was carried to the ear of the mother, who was at the camp, the father being out hunting. The mother rushed to the rescue of the first-born, only to hear the receding footsteps of the Comanche ponies. The mother was paralyzed with grief and fainted away as soon as she realized the fate of her daughter.

The father returned in a few hours and examined the locality of the spring, and found that about fifteen ponies had been hitched hard by, and the Indians had evidently crept up to the spring and were lying in wait for their victim. Mr. R. cared for his wife, and at once started for the next neighbor, and the alarm was given that a


The frontier Texan is ever ready to jump into his saddle at a moment’s notice, and a party of ten determined men were soon on the trail of the red fiends, which had taken a westerly direction. The superior horses of the Texans rapidly gained on the poor ponies of the Indians, and after traveling all night on a warm trail, came up with the Indians the next morning, just as they had come to a halt, and a fight ensued, in which the object of the chase


And was scalped, all of the Indians getting away but three. One of the three killed had the gory scalp of the young girl attached to his belt. They had killed her just as soon as attacked. The father was almost distracted, and absolutely frenzied with grief, and when the chase was given up by the others he could hardly be kept back. The young lady


In the western wilds of Texas, and the family could no longer remain in the country that has caused them so much misery.
The [Bazoo] reporter asked what became of the scalp. The tear-dimmed eyes of the mother looked in the direction of a substantial chest in the wagon, and she said: “It is there.” We asked if they had any objection to showing it. They said no and the father unlocked the chest and produced a long lock of dark hair, cut from the crown of the head, with about an inch and a half in diameter of the scalp. When this was produced, the entire family gave way to loud sobs; and we wondered why so ghastly a memento was kept, that would ever keep fresh in their memory the tragic end of their beloved daughter and sister.

Galveston Daily News (Galveston, Texas) 15 Jul 1874

Starved To Death

December 16, 2008
Kansas Pioneer Family

Kansas Pioneer Family

This story reminds me of  the  “Little House on the Prairie”  books:

A Mother and Three Children Die in a Lonely Cabin on the Kansas Prairies.

STOCKTON, Kan., Jan 6 [?] From Farmington, Rooks County, comes a fearful tale of destitution. Four years ago John Clifton died and left a widow with five children. Year after year the crops failed and the poor woman was obliged to sell off her stock until at last there was none left. This year finished the fight and when the recent blizzard came it found the house with neither food nor fuel. The house was located in the Blue Hills, four miles from the nearest neighbor.

Saturday some persons passed the house and seeing no signs of life entered the house, where they found the dead bodies of Mrs. Clifton and three of her children, while the other two were in the last agonies of death. Prompt attention was given to the living, but there is little hope for their recovery.

New Castle News (PA) 07 Jan 1891

I wonder if the two surviving children made it, or if it really was too late.