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Medicine Lodge Cresset, November 5, 1885

In the southwest part of this county there is a large settlement of Russians, Hungarians, Danes and other foreigners. They have, as a general thing, good claims which they are improving rapidly. These people are industrious, and economical and will make good citizens. Probably the most influential man in the settlement is Mr. Sclar, formerly of New York. For names, this settlement heads off any other section of the county. We learned one that we think will take the cake anywhere in this section; it is Gedaly Rachmilewitz, a very intelligent young Russian who has only been in this county a year or two, yet talks and writes English fluently.

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Medicine Lodge Cresset, November 12, 1885 

Why I Left Russia

Most of the Russian educated young men, nearly all the tribes of Levy being tired out with the absolute will of the autocrats, constantly continue to appropriate the peculiarities of cosmopolitism. They never feel sorrow, as dreadful as their condition might be in the world, remembering their standing at home.

A good many Russian people enjoy their sweet corners of the poor dwellings erected on the desolate fields of Barber, finding them much more comfortable, lovely, pleasant and secure while inhaling the fresh breeze of freedom and independence than the Czar in his interior chambers of the celebrated Castle Gatchino under the flash of exposed sabers.

I, myself, am a strict adherent to the theory of a representative government where every citizen has the right to exercise his opinion. I am by no means an enemy of the dynasty of Romanoff, but that I love freedom and independence. Who is so base that would be a bondsman? Who is so vile that feels not a high respect for a free country? Who is so rude that may neglect independence?

The Russian nihilist, although in some extraordinary cases they do not neglect to play with the dynamic ball, and at times they are disposed to use it as a blind weapon in their hands to stir up the hearts and minds of the illiterate class to making riot and rage, the consequences of which have fallen upon the citizens, yet it does not follow from that alone that they, in so doing, should be considered as simply robbers, pirates, plunderers, murderers and assassins; on the contrary, they all are intelligent men, kind-hearted, open-handed, well-to-do, and at any time are ready, for the welfare of their fellow citizens, to be beheaded with the guillotine. They are not self-appointed champions of a particular society, but are selected by all the various parties not favoring autocracy, to press persistently the rights of a citizen upon the attention of law-making bodies. Indeed, the present condition of countrymen is so dreadful, and to some death would be far more welcome than being thus oppressed, but the sword of our hero sooner or later will not fall in the aim at the point. Then the time will come giving us a happy release. 

In regard to myself I am now in the blessed land where men of every creed live together happily and freedom is allowed in politics as in religion, fortunately located in a nice place near Hackberry creek, in the neighborhood of Mr. Downing, thinking myself the Great mogul of Delphy.

Lodi, Ks., Nov. 7, 1885. 

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Medicine Lodge Cresset, November 26, 1885

A Night in a Russian Inn

The night's garment was spread over the world and its eternal companions, the myriad stars, kept watch in the sky. Men of every class started homeward to get repose and relaxation after the strenuous labors of the day. There had not been a sound to break the calm of Nature. It was so still, so silent that the shadow of Death seemed to stretch its veil everywhere.

But I, during the day, had not arrived at the end of my affairs and being reluctant to postpone them till tomorrow, I strolled over the gloomy and narrow streets of the city till late in the night, when, weary and fatigued, I opened the door of the inn, which was easily fastened. I hardly could see the winding stairs leading up to the room of my occupation because the shaded lamp from the edge of the table which stood in the corridor, gradually settled down, giving plenty of heat but little flame. Fortunately, however, I reached my room, being happy in finding my bed "comme il faut," of which I stood very much in need. Not long reflecting upon my day's subjects I struck the light, pulled off my clothes and jumped into my sweet repose, feeling the transportation of my soul to the celestial Eden. But one moment is sufficient to deaden in a human being his vital powers, to appease, his sensibility and to overspread his mind with a dim film of unconsciousness. So I fell into a deep sleep, dreaming of Minerva being accompanied by Mars, in full glory of majesty, with a constitutional scripture in their hands descended from Heaven, immediately set on flight the swings of liberty right to the famous Kremle, smashing into pieces with a slight touch of their weapons, its copper gates of ages, entered the mysterious chamber where on the golden table the beautiful diamond crown glittered since the coronation of Ivan, the Terrible, took it off and put in its place the wished-for scripture, left all the interior doors open free to every citizen, bid farewell to all who admire freedom and on their way back to the spherical world, set the crown on a summit of a gigantic glacier in the vast Arctic region. How sweet was such a fairy vision to me none can tell. How great was my delight none feels but myself.

Suddenly, a noisy confusion, a tumult, an uproar, a hurly-burly burst out in the corridor and soon the clashing, jingling and rattling of the swords and spurs of the night police, whose individuality are behind them, "corpus sine tectore," reached my ears. I was very much astonished at this "coup de main" and feared to breathe, feared to raise my head, feared to turn over. The bed under me heaved and rocked just as if the violent paroxysm of an earthquake was bursting out. At length I gathered my strength, got out of bed, seized my revolver which was hanging to the wall, and in spite of my neglige, I mounted to run out to inquire concerning the catastrophe, but the hasty entering of the lady of the inn interrupted my determination and in a voice so full of tenderness as to alleviate my grief and raise my spirit, said to me:

"Herr Rachmilewitz, do not be afraid, do not be excited. Your life will not be jeopardized. There is a custom in our town, Kieb, since General-Governor Drentein came in, to be very stringent about passports. A man who has not a document showing where he came from would be kicked out from the town as soon as it would be learned of him; so all you guests, 150 in number, submit to the police and follow them to court where your passports will be examined."
So like a lamb and like a flock of goats we were driven to the court in the midst of the night. "O tempora! O mores!" I exclaimed inwardly, when will come our salvation, when will be respected the rights of humanity?

As there was some shrewd fellows, among whom I was one, it was not hard to get rid of the police and went back home to our repose with the heavy steps of one that feels the weight of blood upon his head, and wishing a reform in the -- the sun should shine nightly grand machine of the universe and the moon daily.

Lodi, Ks., Nov. 16, 1885.

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Medicine Lodge Cresset, December 3, 1885.

A False Kiss

In the Alexandria theater in St. Petersburg, Russia, a young lady had lost a very precious diamond pin, and being reluctant to make it known, kept still about it. She was astonished the next day to be receiving the following letter:


I take pleasure in informing you that I have been lucky enough to find the diamond pin which you lost at the theater last evening, and I am willing to return it to you, even without reward. Money I would not take, for I am rich enough. However, there is one thing which I very much desire. I love you, love to death, and all that you may give me in recompensation for returning the pin is but a kiss. Tomorrow, at eight o'clock in the evening, I will wait for you at the corner of Nevsky and Prospect streets, near the restaurant of Mr. Folkin, and where, if you do not refuse the wished-for reward, you will receive the pin. 

This intelligence was very painful to the heart of the young lady and she was at a loss to know what to do. Suddenly her chambermaid sprung upon a new idea. She said ' "I will represent you for a while, and will act the role of mine mistress."

So the chambermaid disguised herself as much as possible, covered her face so that only the mouth with its rosy lips was exposed, and walked forth to the rendezvous. As soon as she reached the appointed place she noticed a young man approaching who asked, "Do you agree?" She answered in the affirmative, and after an exchange of sweet kisses he gave her a wrapped paper. On returning home she found, to her chagrin, a piece of wood with the following laconic expression written thereon: "The thing is false, just as the kiss is. You are not the mistress, but the chambermaid. Good bye, you will never see me again."

Translated from the Russian by
Lodi, Ks., Nov. 27, 1885

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Medicine Lodge Cresset, December 10, 1885.

Gedaly Rachmilewitz, of this county, will start in a few days on a business and pleasure trip to Paris, France. Mr. Rachmilewitz is a member of the Russian colony in the southwest part of the county and is a young man of intelligence and attainments as the readers of the CRESSET are aware, we having published several articles from his pen.

The colony, of which he is a member, is comprised of about fifty or sixty families, commenced settlement two or three years ago, and by diligence and perseverance they have opened out a number of fine farms. They have bright prospects before them and will undoubtedly succeed. Talk about a settlement dwelling together in brotherly love; this one comes as near it as any we know of. They are, as a general thing, strong and healthy, and are always ready to help one another about improvements. We wish Mr. Rachmilewitz a pleasant trip and a safe return.

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The map below shows the locations of seven Jewish agricultural colonies that were begun in Western Kansas in the 1880s. The colonies were Beersheba, Gilead, Hebron, Lasker, Leeser, Montefiore, and Touro. At their actual physical locations, the sites are unmarked. Most are fields and ranch lands.

Kansas map illustrating Jewish settlements

Digitized with permission of Gertrude Harris, widow of the author, December 2001.

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