ABILENE IN ITS GLORY -- EFFECTS OF THE CATTLE TRADE UPON THE FARMERS -- THE RAILWAY EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AGAIN REPUDIATE THEIR CONTRACT -- THE EFFECT -- FRIENDS REAL, AND SPURIOUS -- LESSONS OF ADVERSITY -- REFLECTIONS UPON A LOST FORTUNE -- WINTERING CATTLE IN KANSAS -- STILLHOUSE FEEDING -- MAJOR J. S. SMITH.
When the cattle trade at Abilene had withstood so much bitter and powerful opposition, and still continued to increase, every one conceded its success, and most of its opponents and competitors abandoned the contest. Abilene had become a synonym for Texan cattle, and as a great cattle market, as widely known as any other one in the United States. The receipts of cattle each year doubled those of the previous one. Thus in 1867 thirty-five thousand cattle arrived, in 1868 seventy-five thousand, and in 1869 fully one hundred end fifty thousand. Throughout the stock regions of Texas, it was recognized as the only cattle market in which any considerable number of stock could be sold. It certainly was the first depot or shipping market Texan drovers ever had to which they could come, unmolested by mobs or hostile legislation. Perhaps no point or village of its size had ever been so thoroughly advertised, or had acquired such wide-spread fame. One at a distance would suppose from the many reports ports, that it was a large town or city of many thousand inhabitants, instead of a small village of a few hundred denizens. One morning a newly arrived Southern drover appeared in the midst of the village, and reigning up his cow pony, inquired how far, and what direction it was to Abilene. He was told that he was then in the place. He could scarce believe his informer, and broke forth, saying, "Now, look here, stranger, you don't mean this here little scatterin trick is Abilene." He was assured that it was. "Well I'll swar I never seed such a little town have such a mighty big name." No point in the west of five times its resident population, did one-half the amount of business that was done at Abilene. And in the days of its full tide in cattle business, its streets were crowded from early morning to a late hour in the night, by a busy throng of merchants, traders and other business men, besides a host of that floating population which perpetually drift from point to point, wherever business centers -- just as the eagles gather to the carcass. And in the eastern portion of the village, where were located the stock-yards, and the Drovers' Cottage, which was the headquarters of the cattle men, could have constantly been seen great numbers of cattle men, and the busiest scenes of activity. Cattle arriving from the prairie for shipment; others just being yarded; others being weighed; and a full choir of men busy loading trains; empty cars arriving and others heavily loaded departing; while in every direction could be seen the cow-boy, hastening his pony at full speed, to perform some duty. From the shipping yards to the front of the cottage, a concourse of footmen could have been seen hurrying to and fro.
Abilene's cattle commerce amounted to more than three millions of dollars yearly, and was annually increasing; aside from an immense lucrative trade in camp supplies and outfitting, from a pair of huge spurs, or star-spangled top boots to a thimble-skein wagon.
The farmers of the county had a home demand, at high cash prices, for every bushel of grain, peck of vegetables, pound of butter, or dozen eggs that they could possibly produce; and still it was necessary to import many car-loads of these articles to supply the demand. In every direction over the county, the farmers could be seen merging from their "dugouts" -- mere hovels of dirt built in the bank of some ravine -- into substantial frame houses with other out-door improvements of a substantial character; all betokening the greatest comfort and prosperity such as their brightest hopes had not anticipated.
During the shipping season of 1869, the Illinoisan exerted himself to his utmost to increase the shipment of cattle, and to otherwise accommodate the trade; and spent no small amount of time in securing buyers for cattle, who would ship them to eastern points. Indeed it would be difficult for a man to exert himself more, or devote nearer all his time, night and day, to work and business than did he; often two hour's sleep would suffice him; and scarce a week passed in which he did not spend one or more nights without sleep; so determined was he to repair his damaged fortunes, and to make the Abilene enterprise a complete success. For it was the undertaking of his life, and upon its success or failure he felt that not only his fortune depended, but his manhood, and the respect of his relatives and friends.
Perhaps there never was a project so bitterly assailed, misrepresented, and made the scape-goat of so much caloric misery and misfortune as was that at Abilene. In all this its projector was made to share, having first conceived the project and put it into execution. Therefore its success was nearer and dearer to him than life itself, and no more cruelly withering, and heart-crushing day ever dawned in his history, than that upon which, by a combination of adverse circumstances, coupled with bad faith, he lost the shipping yards and cattle business of Abilene.
At the close of the season he invested every dollar that he could command, in a herd of nine hundred head of cattle, intending to winter them on hay, and fat them on grass the following summer. The cattle were put into winter quarters, along the Smoky Hill river, and its tributaries. For the means to pay feed bills and other expenses during the winter, the Illinoisan expected to use the sum due him from the Railway Company, as per the contract made the previous spring. Over two thousand cars had been bedded, and loaded with castle at Abilene during the season of 1869, for which there was due a sum exceeding five thousand dollars.
After his cattle had been placed in winter quarters, he went to the general offices of the Railway Company in St. Louis, to effect a settlement, and to get the sum due him for his services. Entering the office of the Executive Committee, he found all the members present except the President, who was absent in Europe; and straightway presented his business. To his dismay the Vice President, a burly biped of teutonic extraction, and the Treasurer, a soulless, conscienceless money lover, after scratching their pates and looking dubiously at each other, as if hesitating between acting out their honest convictions by paying the amount due, or repudiating the contract, piped out in dishonest tones, that they did not then know of any contract existing wherein the Railway Company had agreed to pay for having cattle loaded at Abilene.
With such men the impulse to keep all they get, is generally stronger than that to do as agreed, no matter how dearly the party to whom they may be debtor, has earned the pittance claimed, or how much profit they may have received from his labors in their behalf. Such at least seemed to be the case with that Vice President and Treasurer.
After one or two more urgent applications for settlement, the Illinoisan was finally insolently told, by that model Treasurer, that he had as well leave the office, for they had decided not to pay him a cent.
That Shylock may make a very good railway treasurer, but were we deputed to select an honest man he would stand as little chance of being chosen as of being struck by lightning. His conduct might have been fun and congenial pastime for him, but it was financial ruin to the Illinoisan. If that Treasurer's action was honest or honorable, not to mention decent, it was not appreciated.
However, the Illinoisan did not desire rupture with the company, and still hoped to obtain justice, without trouble, or having to resort to legal measures. Accordingly he departed from the railway offices, where they would not listen to his verbal appeals, and going to his room, wrote and caused to be printed, a circular letter setting forth the basis, the equity, and the justice of his claim, and making a fervid appeal to the railway management to act in good faith with him. To each one of the directors a copy of that circular letter was mailed, also one to the President to New York, in care of his banker, where it would reach him upon his landing from Europe, which event was soon expected to occur. During the time expiring between those interviews, the winter passed away. Finally, when the Illinoisan learned that the President had arrived home, he went to St. Louis to see him, for he entertained the conviction that the President would not permit so mean an outrage as his associates were disposed to perpetrate. On entering the President's' room, that petite functionary was found alone, apparently meditating upon what a queer thing it was to be a president of a railway and yet be so small a man. Arising, with a bland smile, he greeted the Illinoisan in a friendly manner, inviting him to be seated and make known his desires. This was done in a plain, moderate manner, to which the President replied that he remembered that some arrangement or contract had been made, but owing to the great lapse of time, and the vast number of other business matters that had occupied his attention, he could not tell just what the arrangement was, but that he would give the matter close investigation and try to do justice in the premises, and; -- just then the immense corporeal proportions of the Teutonic vice-president hove in view at the door-way. The little president apparently remembering the circular fetter he had received at New York, suddenly jumped up on his feet, and effected to have been terribly insulted forsooth, because the Illinoisan had dared say in that printed letter, "that if no other means would be effectual in obtaining a settlement, he would resort to law, although greatly preferring friendship to antagonism he could not, and would not purchase peace at the cost of all his rights." The memory of those unpalatable, straightforward statements seemed to grate harshly upon the petite President, and to throw him into paroxysms of rage. He assured the Illinoisan that he felt himself highly insulted and that he did not read the circular letter, but cast it with contempt under the car seat. This assurance was repeated so often that the Illinoisan felt quite certain that the irate President not only had read the whole of the letter, but re-read it a time or two, and then perhaps chewed it into quids and spit them out through the car window. The interview ended by the President telling the Illinoisan to go and sue the Railway Company as soon as he chose," in a voice indicating that to sue a corporation over which he presided with all his might and weight would be something, no insignificant mortal like a cattle man would dare have the temerity to do.
At the termination of the interview the Illinoisan returned to Kansas, where he had spent the most of the previous winter in a terrific struggle to keep his nose above the troubled financial waters which threatened to engulf him. The constantly accruing expense and feed bills on his herd of cattle were becoming enormously large and numerous. In fact the winter had been but a prolongation of the previous summer's struggle, only that it daily intensified, until whole weeks were spent by him without adequate rest or sleep. An iron man could not have scarce withstood such constant strain and labor, much less a man of flesh and blood. And it soon began to tell fearfully on the health of the Illinoisan.
No sooner did it become known that the Railway Company had repudiated its contract again with him, than some of his most unprincipled creditors, men who he had been the means of raising out of poverty's lowest ditch, became uneasy -- thinking other people were like themselves, ungrateful and dishonest -- began suit for the amount of their bills. This occurred in the spring, when every resource had been exhausted by the Illinoisan to raise means, and the action of the Railway Company had become known.
Every one has heard, and many know from sad experience, the inevitable fate of the man who is embarrassed, when some uneasy, malicious creditor begins legal action against the debtor. It serves only to frighten other creditors, and then they rush on to him bringing sudden and irretrievable ruin, whereas, often had a little patience or decency been exercised a brief time would have made all things good, and much loss saved to the debtor. Such was the case with the Illinoisan. So soon as he saw that no longer time would be accorded him in which to shape his own affairs, he surrendered all his assets to certain creditors, even placing a mortgage upon his little cottage home, and gave the proceeds thereof to his creditors. Then with only a single ten dollar note, he withdrew from business, compelled by adversity and sickness, induced by overwork and anxiety, causing complete nervous exhaustion. The entire succeeding summer he was nearer a dead than a live man. It would tax language to tell the bitter despair, the intense physical and mental weakness and anguish, the pain and exhaustion endured that summer, as day by day dragged its hopeless, cheerless length along, only to bring a slumberless night. But then it was refreshing to witness the action of certain quondam friends, who were in the days of prosperity all smiles, ready to laud and defend every action. So soon as adversity's day dawned they were distant, and as cool as an iceberg, and would meet and pass their former benefactor with their back-bones as rigid as if they were cast iron; and head as elevated as though they were engaged in surveying the planetery system. It was condescension, a most gracious thing, if they deigned to nod their head in cold recognition. And as to showing they had a spark of true generous manhood, by lending a helping hand, or speaking a kind word of comfort, or good cheer, they never thought of such a thing. Nor did they seem to be conscious that their late conduct had added greatly to the distress of the situation, and had rendered themselves detestible. But they were content to daily manifest their actual flunkyism and manly dignity (?) by bending the supple knee to some one whom they supposed had money. Then it was so consoling to see how "child-like and bland," not to say piously serene the countenance of an old family friend could be, whilst he modestly charged enormous commissions for trivial services, and how complacently he could pocket the gross proceeds and retire to his Sucker home, and leave a wronged and outraged man to starve, and be sold out of house and home.
Indeed, a man in adversity has an opportunity to see how many real friends he has, and he will find but little trouble in distinguishing between the real and the spurious ones and he will have no trouble to count the real ones upon his finger ends, and ten to one he will not need more than the fingers on one hand, and perchance not more than half of those.
But a firm consciousness of rectitude of purpose, and an inward sense of honorable manhood will raise a real man above any and all adverse circumstances, and lead him to pity, while he despises the weak and heartless creatures who snap and snarl beneath his feet. Then nothing will so speedily and thoroughly develope real manhood, sterling integrity, and an intensely keen appreciation of the real, the good and the true, as downright persistent adversity. True, at first, human nature being weak, opportunity and inducement being great, one is sorely tempted to act dishonorably, if not dishonestly. But genuine integrity and noble manhood will re-assert itself in time to command, to prevent, to save.
The experience of the year of 1870 will long be remembered by the Illinoisan as affording a full insight into the hollowness of human nature, and the frivolous flunkyism of the majority of mankind. Besides it taught him valuable lessons that sank deep into his heart, that would perhaps have never been learned under any other circumstances. Perhaps in life's final make-up it will be found that what was endured then has had much to do in creating a correct estimate of the really meritorious, and true; and, if so, will not have been in vain. Besides had events been different life might have been passed without having learned the intrinsic value of real true friends, and the hollow worthlessness of spurious ones. Therefore his future may be of more worth to himself and humanity than a dozen such lives as his would otherwise have been.
Who can tell what an empty blank life might have been without adversity's trenchant drilling. Indeed, this book might not have been written and all the wondrous and important events related therein, remained undisclosed, in the bosom of its author, and many of the faces herein gazed upon by the reader, would have slept in oblivious graves, and the story of their life, with their names, never been rescued from obscurity and oblivion. Who can contemplate without a shudder of horror, the terrible hiatus that would have occurred in the literary world had not this book been written and published.
But a serious survey of the situation would not have been uninstructive and a retrospective view would not have been uninteresting. When that young Illinoisan left his beautiful home, near the capitol of the Sucker State, his heart was full of ambition to do something that would be of benefit to his fellow men, as well as to himself, and he chose the enterprise developed at Abilene as the one in which he could best work. He was heard to say in a brief talk on the occasion of the shipment of the first train of cattle from Abilene that: "Whether this enterprise ultimately proves to be to our financial weal or woe, as individuals, it has been begun and will be prosecuted to the end, with the confident hope that it will be of great benefit to the people of the Southwest and the Northwest, as well as to the laboring millions of the Northeast." Such were the aims and desires that animated the projector of that enterprise, and it need not be added that the undertaking was a success, although to the parties at whose expense it was made such, were repaid with repudiation and financial ruin for their labors, and from a position of substantial comfort brought to one of penury.
The Railway Company which reaped the greatest profit from the enterprise, did perhaps the least towards making it a success; but upon the other hand acted throughout in the most ungrateful and perfidious manner. But the Company has the benefit of the profit, and it also has the benefit of being placed upon record as a dishonest repudiator. If the managers' consciences twinge not at the means to which they resorted in order to acquire what they gained, and at what they did to crush and ruin the man who gave it to them, then indeed are they callous in soul.
An honest man or company would not have money or commerce obtained at the expense of honor or at the cost of ruin to others.
Inasmuch as all peaceful appeals had been made in vain and every effort to get a settlement with the Railway Company had proved ineffectual, there was no other alternative left for the Illinoisan than to appeal to the Courts of Justice. Accordingly a suit was begun in the District Court at Junction City, which, after tedious continuances, came up for hearing and a verdict was rendered in favor of him, for every dollar claimed. But with the usual perverseness of Railway Corporations, the case was appealed to the Supreme Court, where after a moderate delay only, it was again decided in favor of the Illinoisan.
So after a two year's struggle the Railway Company paid the amount originally claimed, and for the lack of which the Illinoisan had been bankrupted. All the bright promises and assurances given him in the beginning by the Railway Executive Committee, through its President, thus terminated and poverty in abundance was given where emoluments had been promised.
True he obtained the amount of the judgment less expenses and attorney's fees, but it lacked only twelve days of being two years after it was due; in which time his business had gone to ruin, and losses were entailed upon him of many thousands of dollars. His shipping yards had passed into the hands of an inexperienced cattle man, a stranger, for a trifle, who in the brief space of five months, cleared over thirteen thousand dollars, and sold out and went home. Indeed the amount of the judgment was to the Illinoisan like giving a loaf of bread to a man already dead from starvation -- a very good thing to receive but entirely too late.
Nevertheless, he did not mourn for his lost fortune. It was regarded as being hazarded upon a legitimate enterprise which had been carried to a successful issue; one that was of vast, almost incalculable benefit to southern drovers and ranchmen, to the northwestern cattle feeders and grazers, as well as to the laborers of the northeast; in that it gave the first a reliable market or outlet for their live stock; and to the second it opened up a source from which they could fill their feed-lots and pastures with unfatted cattle at reasonable prices; and to the latter it gave good wholesome beef at prices within the reach of the poor, and laboring man. These being among the fruits or results of the Abilene enterprise, its projector, although bankrupted, felt quite differently from what he would had he gambled off at cards, or spent in riotous living, his fortune. He felt that he had lost his money in an honorable effort to develope a worthy legitimate enterprise, one which had as its results, great good to the beef producing and consuming world, and to that extent he was a benefactor to his fellow man.
The Abilene enterprise opened up, or was the precursor to many lucrative avocations, one of which was the business of buying, late in the fall, the thin unmarketable cattle, and holding them over winter and fattening them during the following summer upon the native grasses. This operation was found to be very profitable and in due time many engaged in it.
Among the first, if not the first, was Maj. J. S. Smith. of Springfield, Ill., who was the first northern cattle man or buyer that came to Abilene in 1867, and bought cattle for his Illinois pastures and feed-lots; and whilst at Abilene was induced to buy a small lot of scalawag cattle and to put them into winter quarters in Kansas as an experiment. Every one was astonished the following spring to see how well the cattle had wintered. They had actually gained in flesh and general condition during the winter. In a few months after spring opened and grass was abundant, the small herd was in sufficiently good condition to go to the eastern market. This experiment was sufficient to demonstrate the practicability as well as the profit of wintering Texan cattle in Kansas. The following fall many engaged in it. This of course created a demand for hay.
The wild grasses of the valleys of Kansas, when mowed and properly cured in the months of July and August, makes hay of equally good quality to the best timothy and clover hay of the Middle States. Many young men of energy found lucrative employment in putting up hay to sell to cattle men desirous of wintering stock.
No eastern meadow has so smooth a surface as the valleys of Western Kansas. In many places the mowing machine can be driven for miles without meeting an obstruction or running over a single rod of rough or uneven ground. The Major was not slow to see the prospective profit in the operation of wintering cattle, and to engage in it extensively. Besides sending to his Illinois farm about five hundred cattle annually -- to depasture his bluegrass fields, and consume his corn crops, after which but a few months grazing upon tame grass pastures would fit them for the New York markets -- he has for five successive winters held from one thousand to two thousand head in Kansas, over winter.
Wintering Texan cattle in Kansas has some peculiar features worthy perhaps of definite description, more from the magnitude of the business, the great numbers annually wintered, rather than from the scientific manner in which it is done.
The cattle man who undertakes to winter a heard of cattle, secures about one ton of hay to each head he desires to winter. This he provides at his permanent ranch, if he has any, sometimes cutting the grass, curing, and putting it up in long ricks, from forty to one hundred feet in length, and from ten to twenty feet in breadth -- on his own account. At other times he secures his hay by contracting with hay-making parties, or buys it of those who have put it up on purpose to sell it. Often in the latter case he will establish a temporary ranch in the immediate vicinity of the hay, by improvising temporary camps, sometimes mere tents, other times rude "dug-outs" in the banks of some ravine, will be constructed for the comfort and convenience of the men.
A large adjacent tract of land, embracing many thousands of acres, will be "fire-guarded," in order to secure a winter range from the ravages of prairie fires, so common, and often so destructive in prairie countries. To guard against such contingencies two or more plow furrows, about four rods apart, are run around the tract of land desired to be "fire-guarded," and then upon some quiet, breezeless evening, the intervening strip is set fire and closely watched until it is consumed. Thus it will be seen that an impassable barrier would be created between the unburned grass within the encircled tract, and that upon the outside of the "fire-guard."
Sometimes the fire-guard is made during the summer when the grasses are green and inflamable, by mowing two swaths a few rods apart, instead of plowing, and after the mown grass has lain in the hot sun a few days it will burn without igniting the adjoining standing grass. Then when frost has come and the prairie grass is deadened, the intervening strip of grass between the two burned swaths is burned off much in the same manner as in the case of the plow furrows.
It is customary with cautious operators to burn circumscribed fire-guards around their ricks of hay and camp, as a precaution against accidents. So long as there is no snow, and the weather is fine, the cattle will get ample food on the range upon which they are allowed to graze in the day time, but are usually corralled, or rounded up near the camp at night much in the same fashion as in summer herding. But when stormy weather occurs, or there is much snow or ice upon the ground, the cattle are held near camp, and hay given them to eat. One or two yokes of oxen attached to a wagon upon which is a rude hay rack or frame, usually constitutes a feeder's outfit, upon which the hay is loaded, and then scattered off in a circle upon the ground, to be eagerly devoured by the hungry Texans.
Hay made from wild grass, such as is found in the valleys of central and western Kansas in great abundance, is very good and contains a great amount of nutriment. Texan cattle eat it with avidity and without any trouble learning them to take hold of it. It will keep in good heart and flesh any Texan bovine that can get enough of it, and will in many cases increase their weight and condition during the winter.
The experienced cattle man usually chooses or prefers a wintering situation which has good running water, with considerable timber and underbrush; or one that has near the location of the hay, a tract of rough broken country in the gulches, and behind the hills of which the cattle can find shelter from the piercing winds and driving storms to which western Kansas, in common with other prairie countries, is subject.
Many cattle men prefer to winter in eastern Kansas, where they turn their herds upon fields of cornstalks from which the corn has been previously gathered, and in February and March give them a few bushels of corn to strengthen them up so they will take the new grasses and improve rapidly. Whilst in extreme western Kansas many herds are put through the winter with little or no other feed than the Buffalo grass, which, cured up during the previous summer, contains a great amount of nutriment. So long as the cattle can get a sufficient amount of the dry Buffalo grass they will thrive finely. Many thousands are wintered in that manner annually. But it is liable to serious objection as a method of wintering, inasmuch as when the snow or sleet falls deep, as it sometimes does, the cattle are compelled to fast longer than is profitable to the owner, or consistent with the laws of life, and the poor brutes starve to death or stray away in quest of food. When the cattle are wintered upon the range it is customary to place them in some suitable district and then herd or outride the country daily, turning back any that may be found going beyond the prescribed limits. In all styles of wintering, the inevitable and necessary cow-ponies are used, which in addition to the grass or hay they get whilst picketed out are fed corn, oats, or other grain. This is done to give them strength requisite for riding service, and to enable them to withstand the rigors of the climate, for the Texan cow pony cannot withstand the cold of northern winters hardly so well as Texan cattle, besides he is daily ridden more or less.
But we have digressed from the personal sketch of Major Smith. He was not only the first, but a persistent winterer of cattle until within the last year or two; since which he has withdrawn from the business altogether, except upon his Illinois farms, where, in the fall of 1873, he sent near six hundred head of smooth Texan cattle, besides over one thousand head which he laced in the stables of a Still-house near Springfield, Ill.
The manner of fattening cattle at a still-house is one differing altogether from all other methods of feeding in the northwest. Each particular bullock is tied up by a chain around the neck, in a separate stall, the front of which is a manger or platform for hay. A box to receive the allowance of swill is also provided and placed where the bullock can reach it easily; into which the slop is conducted by pipes, running from an immense tank or cooler, which is kept constantly full of slop, fresh from the still-house, which stands at some distance from the cattle stables. Behind the stall is a trench or gutter provided to receive all the filth and offal from the cattle, and is daily cleaned out. The slop is the refuse arising from distilling or manufacturing grain into liquors, and would, without something to eat it, become an entire loss. The stalls are arranged in long rows and the platform in front serves to place hay on daily to be consumed by the stalled ox, which, by the economy of his nature must have some rough coarse food, or else he would soon lose his appetite after becoming gorged upon rich concentrated food.
Cattle are usually still-fed for from six months to two hundred days, and in that time become very fat, and are considered as good beef as if fatted in any other manner.
Being long tied up, they become clumsy and almost lose the use of their limbs. So it is common to let them out in an enclosure once or twice during the two or three weeks previous to shipping them to market, and let them run about and recover the proper use of themselves. It is amusing then to see the dumb brute, rejoiced at regaining his liberty, and to get once more into the sunshine. He attempts to kick up his heels, which usually results in falling headlong on his nose; then he will look foolish, and walk about the yard carefully but awkwardly, until he regains self confidence, when he will spurt off at some tangent only to be again hopelessly discomfited by tumbling down.
Little trouble is experienced in getting every bullock to learn to eat the slop, and they usually get very fat. Inasmuch as they become mature before grass fatted cattle can be had, and at a time when the supply of corn-fed cattle is almost exhausted, they invariably command good prices and generally make large profits to the feeder.
It is the cheapest way to fatten cattle on feed during the winter, from the fact that the slop would be a waste if stock was not provided. This the still operator does not care, or have time to do. Hence he sells the slop at low figures, say from three to eight cents per diem, per bullock, which is much cheaper than the animal could he fed on corn.
In no one year perhaps were there so many cattle put upon still-feed as that of 1873, and perhaps never before were the prospects so encouraging for handsome profits. No one discerned this state of probabilities earlier than did Major Smith and straightway he made needful arrangements to put one thousand head, bought at low prices, upon slops in Central Illinois. The Major is a Kentuckian by birth, although at a very early period he removed with his father to Illinois, in which State he was reared and educated. However, he frequently went to his native, and other Southern States, to which he has taken many Illinois and Missouri raised mules to market. When the war broke out he was South, with a drove of mules which he, unfortunately, sold on credit. Soon after returning home he went into the military service, with the expectation and understanding that his regiment would be detailed to duty on the Western Plains, which, proving to be incorrect, the Major resigned his commission. He then started a number of mule teams across the plains, to California, taking out from the Missouri river full loads of corn, which he freighted to various Stage Stations along the overland mail route. Then went over the mountains into California; where, after wintering and recruiting his animals, he made sale of them. After spending a few months looking at the various sections of the Pacific slope, he again returned to his Illinois home, which he had purchased years before, and which lies west of Springfield, at Bates' Station.
Directly after returning from California, he was induced to go to Abilene, and look over the prospect for business operations there; with what results has already been stated. The Major is a quiet, affable, dignified gentleman; a man of few words and little noise; one who makes but few business transactions during the year, but every one is made upon the strictest business basis; a man of almost unerring judgment, and in all his affairs a high sense of honor and manhood is always manifested; one who has many friends, all of whom rightly repose the greatest confidence in his business integrity and abilities.