DEVELOPMENT OF LIVE STOCK MARTS -- THE MOST ELIGIBLE POINT ON THE MISSOURI RIVER -- KANSAS STOCKYARDS -- JEROME D. SMITH -- GEO. N. ALTMAN -- RECEIVING, YARDING AND FEEDING LIVE STOCK -- COMMISSION MERCHANTS -- W. A. ROGERS -- J. L. MITCHENER -- GEO. R. BARSE -- JOHN SALISBURY -- CAPT. W. H. KINGSBERY -- R. NICHOLS -- SCALPING -- HUNTER, EVANS & CO. --- R. C. WHITE -- BOOKKEEPERS AND CASHIERS -- SHIPPING CATTLE -- L. M. HUNTER.
As the territory of the United States has been gradually developed by settlement and cultivation, new live stock markets have sprang into existence and grown to such magnitude as their location and the permanence of the necessity for them warranted. Thus scarce more than fifty years since the entire live stock product of the nation was produced east of the Alleghany mountains, and Philadelphia, Baltimore, New York and Boston were the only live stock marts of note. But in later years Albany, then Buffalo, and finally Chicago on the Northern lines, and Pittsburg, Cincinnati and St. Louis on the Southern and Central lines, became markets of great importance. It is quite within the memory of many living stock men, when both St. Louis and Chicago and particularly the former were in their infancy as live stock markets. St. Louis being located on a river, formerly the only means of transportation, is the more ancient as a live stock market. The years are few since both these cities were not only regarded as extreme frontier markets, but so much so that it was not thought possible or needful to ever attempt a permanent live stock mart west of them. But upon the development of the country accelerated by railroads, it became apparent that the area of the production of cattle must be that of the Far West, that tract of country east of the Rocky Mountains, which our infant minds were taught to regard as a desert, but which proved upon closer inspection and experiment to be par excellence a live stock producing country.
As the region immediately tributary to the Missouri river for a distance of near one hundred miles on either side became developed, it proved to be very superior corn-growing lands; not excelled as such by famous Central Illinois. Upon the establishment and recognition of this fact, the area in which cattle and hogs could be profitably fatted on corn, became greatly extended, and the business of raising cattle for the feeder correspondingly stimulated, but pushed still farther westward. And so the business of breeding and rearing of live-stock, especially sheep and cattle, has extended to the base of the Rocky Mountains; and after occupying its parks and valleys with live-stock ranches, turns back over the plains to occupy every available location for a distance of five hundred miles in breadth, and more than two thousand miles in length from north to south; covering the vast plains in due time, with bleating flocks and lowing herds. From the nature of the country and its climate and seasons, the positions now fast shaping, will of necessity be permanent. The corn producing belt cannot be extended farther west, not at least sufficiently profitable to ever become an extensive competitor to exclusive live-stock production. The great plains are fast becoming peopled with hardy herdsmen, whose flocks and herds will soon cover the whole of the rainless belt. In the very nature of things and in obedience to the same commercial law or necessity that impelled the building of live-stock marts at St. Louis and Chicago there must be a mart, a point of common center, of sale and interchange somewhere in the valley of the Missouri.
This self-evident fact being admitted, the question naturally presents itself, what point on the Missouri river is the best one? and as naturally answers itself, the one that is most eligibly located, and that furnishes the best facilities for doing the business. The point that has the most tributary lines of supply, as well as lines of outlet; the point which concentrates the greatest number of buyers and sellers. It should be the one -- where a number of points are competing for the same branch of commerce -- that makes the greatest efforts to establish the necessary facilities and financial accommodations, besides such establishments as manufacture live stock into commercial commodities, such as packing, and rendering houses which require immense capital to construct and operate.
Taking all these prerequisites into consideration, it is easy to see that Kansas City is pre-eminently the point on the Missouri river at which a live-stock mart ought to be established, and by the united exertions of western stock-men sustained.
Stock marts, like cities, are not made. in a day, or by a single man, but by persistent and continued efforts of many parties in interest. So if the western live-stock men desire a market nearer their home than St. Louis or Chicago, it is their duty to themselves to aid in making such a one. They should second the efforts already put forth and still being made to create a good, complete live stock mart at Kansas City, because the point fills in a marked degree, all the essential requirements necessary to make a complete market.
The history of the beginning and development of some of the facilities for doing a large stock trade, and the manner in which the business is conducted, with sketches of some of the representative men engaged therein, forms the purpose and scope of this and the succeeding chapter.
In 1807 the cattle shipped from Abilene went by way of Leavenworth to Chicago, but no good facilities for transferring, over the Missouri river existed, and but little desire to retain the business Was manifested by Leavenworth, so the following spring it went to Kansas City. There the Missouri Pacific Company had built small yards, sufficient to accommodate only ten cars of stock, but which had previous to that season never been full. As soon as the river was bridged, the Hannibal & St. Joe Railroad company built small yards, but they soon proved inadequate to accommodate the business, which was yearly growing larger.
In the Spring of 1871, a joint stock company was formed for the purpose of erecting and operating a complete feed and transfer yard. A suitable tract of land was secured, and during 1871 quite a large portion of the ground covered with yards, lanes, alleys, scales, barns and a building for business offices. Every railroad entering or departing from Kansas City soon connected with the yards, and business from the beginning was brisk, crowding to their utmost capacity all the facilities provided, and necessitating additional yards, hog sheds, stables, and office room, until at the present the entire tract of land is occupied.
Ample room exists for seven thousand head of cattle and six thousand hogs at one time without over-crowding but in a case of emergency fifty per cent more could be taken care of. Water fresh from the Kaw River, is conducted by pipes laid under ground, to troughs provided in each yards, also mangers for feeding hay in cattle yards, and floored pens covered with roofs for shade and shelter, are provided for the hogs and sheep.
The first year, that of 1871, 120,827 cattle, 41,036 hogs, 4,527 sheep, and 809 horses were received, of which but a small per cent. were sold, for Kansas City was then naught more than a feeding and resting point, no effort having been put forth to make it a market. During the year of 1872, 236,800 cattle, 105,640 hogs, 2,648 horses, and 6,071 sheep, were received at Kansas City, and a successful effort was made to create a market. Its creation sprang from the necessities of the situation. Parties failing to sell upon the prairies naturally desired to sell at the first point at which it was possible. Purchasers from the East naturally preferred buying at Kansas City to going to the prairies, especially was this the case when the frontier points of rendezvous for cattle became numerous and distant apart. Large packing houses were located at Kansas City, and its superior advantages in location and climate for doing a successful and profitable packing business had become established, and thus a considerable demand occurred, aside from that of Northwestern feeders and grazers. All these influences gradually developed and created a market, which since its beginning has grown rapidly.
During the year of 1873, 238,825 cattle, 201,113 hogs, 6,056 sheep and 3,961 horses were received, of which by far the larger proportion were sold. The financial panic reduced the receipts of cattle fully one hundred thousand during 1873.
It is a fact that although the prices which ruled at Kansas City during that season of financial distress were extremely low and unsatisfactory to the drover and shipper, yet they were much better than were realized farther east, freights and charges being deducted. This is proven by the fact that of the parties who bought in Kansas City market and shipped forward to eastern markets, ten lost where one made money, showing conclusively that they had paid too high for the stock. Again it is a fact that shippers who refused to accept offers for their stock at Kansas City, but shipped it forward on their own account, almost invariably realized less net for it than they had refused at Kansas City.
It has been abundantly demonstrated that at Kansas City a good and complete live-stock market can be created or established; one that will be alike beneficial to the western and southwestern live-stock producers and to the northwestern feeders and grazers, and it certainly is alike desirable and profitable to both parties that such should be.
A near home market is essential to the producers of all marketable commodities, and to none more so than the live- stock man, be he breeder, feeder, grazer or shipper.
The Kansas Stock Yards are under the management of Superintendent Jerome D. Smith, who has been in charge since the organization of the Company.
J. D. Smith has certainly a right to claim a cattleman's blood; his father was one of the most widely known cattle shippers in the northwest, having persistently shipped cattle for forty-two consecutive years, and in that space of time was "busted" ten different times -- a comprehensive and suggestive commentary upon the business of live-stock shipping. J. D. Smith was born, and reared to the age of seventeen, in Newark, New Jersey, then came to Illinois, and after completing his education, engaged in the live-stock trade on his own account in Kansas and Missouri for two years, then went to Chicago where for six years he acted in the capacity of live stock agent for the Michigan Central and Great Western Railways.
Finally, upon the organization of the Kansas Stock Yard Company, he secured the position of Superintendent, which he has filled to the satisfaction of the company. Mr. Smith is a congenial, jovial young man, who has by energy and application to duty, worked himself into an honorable lucrative position, and by diligence and sober deportment has won the esteem of many friends, and the kindest respect of his employees, all of whom indulge the fondest hope and confidence in an honorable future for him. But the success of the Kansas Stock Yards is quite as much due to its late Secretary and Treasurer, Geo. N. Altman, as to any other officer connected therewith, for it is evident that his was a position that required capacity and ability to administer as well as one of no small degree of responsibility; for it was upon him rested the labor and responsibility of keeping, not only the accounts of the stock yards' own business, but of all the railroad live stock deliveries and shipments. His books must show the receipt of each and every car load of live stock, from whence received, and how disposed of, whether cared or driven out, and upon whose account, -- in short the entire workings and business of the yards. Besides the duties as a Secretary, that of Treasurer imposed the collection of all freight charges and the disbursing of the same. The positions of secretary and treasurer are such as require positive exactness in accounts, and impose great responsibility. The position of secretary was given Mr. Altman at the first organization of the Stock Yard Company, and after the first year the position and duties of treasurer were added, in all of which he acquitted himself to the entire satisfaction of the company and to his own great credit.
Mr. Altman for several years previous to his connection with the Kansas Stock Yards, was book-keeper and cashier to a live stock commission firm in Chicago, who did a large business, and was the one that sold the first train load of Texan cattle that was shipped from Abilene; the account of sale of which was made by Mr. Altman. Previous to that he held honorable positions of trust in the telegraph and ticket department of the M. S. & N. I. R. R.
Mr. Altman was a quiet, mild, accomplished gentleman, who had by energy, honesty, and real ability, merited and obtained positions of honor and responsibility, and had won scores of friends and admirers, all of whom esteemed him highly, alike for his many good qualities of heart as well as his persistent laborious attention to the interest of the company. When, upon a bright morning late in the year of 1873, it was announced that Mr. Altman was dead, fallen a victim of incurable consumption, a deep sadness pervaded the habitues of the stock mart, and the tear of sorrow glistened in many eyes unaccustomed to weeping.
The manner in which live stock are received, fed, watered, rested and otherwise cared for, and the manner in which they are handled, sold, weighed and delivered, may be of interest to the general reader; therefore to this his attention is invited. As soon as a train bringing stock arrives at the yards, and is drawn up to the platform for unloading, the employees of the yard company (of which there are many), at once open the car doors, put down a small bridge from the car floor to the platform and drive the stock out and down the inclining platform into the alleys, along which they are hastily driven to, a yard of proper size, into which they are turned. Soon after, they are watered and fed according to order of shipper. Large barns for storing baled hay and corn are provided, and a shipper can have his stock fed either or both, and only has to pay for the amount he orders and if no sale of his stock is made, no charge is made for yardage, or reloading, which is done by the yard company only in case of sale are charges of yardage made for stock which includes weighing. A large building is provided for the business offices. Some of the principal railroads maintain special stock agents, whose offices are near by. The upper floor is divided off into small compartments, or offices, which are occupied by live-stock commission merchants. The entire premises are under the control of the Superintendent whose word or command is law to all the employees of the yard company. If he is efficient, there is no minutia or detail that he does not give his personal attention. There is great need that he be a practical cattle man, with business capacity equal to any emergency.
The business of live stock commission merchants is to take care of, feed, water, sell, and render to the owner an account of such consignments of live stock, as he may be able to obtain either from his patrons direct or from such as may arrive with stock not consigned to any other house. It is a part of his duties to keep himself fully posted as to prices not only in the market in which he sells, but of all distant markets, besides always keeping a sharp look out for live stock buyers for all grades, and in short, to keep, and be a kind of general intelligence office concerning live stock men and matters. To which it might be truthfully added, to be a most obedient servant or convenience, to perform any errand or office for a live stock man that may be desired. There are few men who do as much work for so little pay as the average commission merchant, and certainly none who do more to create good markets than he, and notwithstanding that, it is common to hear ignorant dolts mouthing, otherwise, they are as a class, honest, fair, business men. Indeed they could not be otherwise, and succeed for any considerable length of time, because the competition and rivalry is so great, and competitors so watchful, that any other than an upright, correct course or manner of doing business, would be exposed and published to the world. Again the rivalry impels them to work for the highest prices, in order to please and hold their customers, and they usually know better than one who has just arrived, or is seldom on market, the true value of all grades of stock, besides they know the man, if any there be who desires any particular grade of stock. There are men engaged in live stock commission in every mart, and none can be cited where they are not found also, and as a body, do much toward establishing good markets. Among the first, if not the first man to locate at Kansas City and attempt to establish a live stock commission house, was W. A. Rogers, who had been for two years previously, and still is connected as a partner in the house of Robert Strahorn & Co., of Chicago. Soon after he decided to locate at Kansas City, he entered into a firm, which after one or more changes, is now widely known as Rogers, Powers & Co. The experiment was a success from the first, and the close of the second year showed that a business of near two thousand cars of stock had been done annually.
Mr. Rogers was born in Indiana, but while young was taken by his parents to Iowa, where he remained until he attained the years of manhood, after which period, farming and local live stock trading engaged his attention for three years. Finding the stock business more congenial to his tastes he abandoned farming and formed his Chicago business connections and went to Kansas, where for two years he bought, shipped, and fed cattle, always keeping a sharp look-out for chances to improve the business of his Chicago house. Finally additional business relations and a permanent location at Kansas City were decided upon. Perhaps few men so young are so widely known in the West as Mr. Rogers. Young, energetic, shrewd and quick, never slow to discern an opening or an opportunity for a profitable business operation, and untiring in his efforts to increase his business. A good judge of the quality and value of live stock, a close observer of human nature, readily reading a man's thought. in the expression of his countenance, and never at a loss to know how to turn it to advantage. Fortune has dealt liberally with him, and success crowns most of his undertakings. With his ability, experience and already acquired capital, it is easy to see that the future is full of hope and bright promises for him. Both firms, as now constituted, with which he is connected, present combinations of capital and practical adaptability to the business rarely met with, and ensures the utmost good faith and responsibility.
It is not often we meet permanently located at a market, aged men; men whose heads bear nature's silvery crown of honor -- whose patriarchal beard reminds the beholder of the Ancients, and in whose presence intuitively feels the reverence due to venerable experience and wisdom -- but ever and anon we do meet such an one -- such is J. L. Mitchener, who stands at the head of the capable house of Mitchener & Son. His life has been a varied one, one ever cast in busy exciting scenes. Born and reared to manhood in Pennsylvania, where with his father he was annually engaged in large live-stock feeding operations, being thoroughly schooled in the manner of handling, feeding, and marketing stock. Whilst yet a young man, not above a score in years, he incidently visited the State of Ohio. So soon as he perceived the great advantages for live-stock operations that that new State then offered, he determined to realize their benefits. Accordingly after spending a short time in making needful preparations he entered the, to him, promiseful Buckeye State, and within her borders made his home for seventeen years, two-thirds of which time was devoted to profitable live-stock business, and the remaining third to manufacturing product of live- stock in the city of Cincinnati, in which and in other products, he was a heavy operator. But in time he became restless in the pent-up city and longed for the freedom of the country -- for the vocation of the stock farm -- and having tasted the unrestrained exciting life peculiar to a new country, concluded to try Illinois, and in 1854 took up his abode upon a good farm of seven hundred acres which he had previously bought.
After spending five years in his rural home, engaged successfully in extensive live-stock operations, he went to St. Joseph, Missouri, at the solicitation of a St. Louis packing firm, and aided in conducting a large packing establishment. Here again the great new west, the mighty predestined valley of the Missouri enraptured him. Thinking that he could foresee the day, which to him looked as one not distant, when the onward, westward march of civilization would develope that rich, new country into a garden of beauty, an eldorado of health; and with a ken little short of prophetic, saw and believed in the coming greatness and commercial importance of Kansas City. Therefore to that point he brought his effects, and it is said actually built the first packing house ever erected there, but the unforeseen war soon occurring, he was induced out of motives to preserve his family, to return to Chicago, where he again connected himself with a prominent packing house. Soon thereafter, the project of the Union Stock Yards took shape, and to the enterprise he gave his aid, and was the first man to actually break dirt, setting the first post, and nailing the first board in their erection; and when the yards were so far completed as to be open for business, he accepted the position of Division Superintendent, which position he held until the year 1869, when he established the house of which he now stands at the head. In a life in which fickle fortune alternates a smiling and frowning countenance, most men become in age morose and sour, or settle down in hopeless impotency apparently only waiting the last summons, thus confessing life a failure, and life's rugged steeps too precipitous for them to reattempt to scale, since once attaining have been hurled to the bottom. Not so with Mr. J. L. Mitchener -- voice is as cheery, his air as confident, his manner as open, frank, up and above board when in poverty's narrowest rut as when upon fortunes most gilded heights. With him it matters not, hope and manhood is high whether his purse be full or collapsed, for he believes "A man's a man for all that." The commission house at the head of which he stands, is one among the reliable and capable established in Kansas City during the year 1872. Its business is steadily increasing, and its already long list of patrons is daily augmenting.
Most of the men engaged in live stock commission are either Western born or Western raised, and often both. Such is the case with Geo. R. Barse. Wisconsin is the State of his nativity, although he was educated at Detroit, Michigan. Then he went to Illinois and began business for himself as a grain and live stock dealer, which occupation he followed but too closely for three years. At the earliest call for volunteers, he enrolled his name and served his country faithfully four years, fourteen months of which time he was a prisoner in the South, and was in nearly every prison pen in Dixie. Four different times did he escape, three times was he re-taken, but the last time success crowned his efforts and he joined Sherman's "bummers" on their way to the sea. When peace was restored, he returned to Illinois and resumed his old business, which he followed with varying fortune until the year of 1871, in which he formed connections with one of Chicago's most widely known live stock firms, and the following year came to Kansas City. But the great panic of 1873 had the effect of severing his connections with the Chicago house, and he formed other connections. Mr. Barse understands the practical management of live stock, and is a good salesman. He is a whole-souled, good- tempered man, whose record for integrity, energy and a conscientious application to the interests of his patrons is unspotted.
Some of the Chicago commission houses have established branch offices at Kansas City, which are usually conducted under the same name as the original house. Such is the case with the well and favorably known house of Hough Reeves & Co., whose Kansas City salesman is John Salisbury, a man who was reared to the business, beginning at 100dth street, New York City, the city of his birth. After selling for years in New York he went to Albany and Buffalo, stopping for a year at each; he finally went to Southern Illinois where he occupied himself as a local trader until the outbreak of the war, at the close of which he returned to New York city, and for three years continued his old first vocation, then went to Chicago, and after selling on that market for the house with which he now is, for two years, was transferred to Kansas City where he has been for more than two years, and where he expects to remain permanently. The house for which he acts as salesman, is one of the most substantial financially, and widely known firms in the west, and in the person of Mr. Salisbury they have an able, experienced salesman, who can discern at a glance the correct grade and value of a drove of cattle, and can sell them for every dollar they are worth on the market. It is only necessary for him to attend strictly to the business in which he is engaged to make sure of abundant success and a prosperous future.
It might be supposed that a firm, one or more of whose members were Texans, would naturally attract and receive the patronage of Southern drovers. Their suspicion of a Northern man is deep and universal. Therefore they prefer to entrust one from their own State with their business. Accordingly it is not unfrequent that one or more Northern men will associate with themselves one or more Texan men, and thus present a house unobjectionable to men from either section.
W. H. Kingsbery, of the firm of Matthews, Kingsbery & Co., one of Kansas City's most enterprising live stock commission houses, is well known to Texans as being a member of the firm of Kingsbery & Holmsley, of Comanche Texas. Born and reared to the age of sixteen in the State of Georgia, he became so enraptured with the glowing accounts of the great new State of Texas that he determined to emigrate hither.
Not having funds to travel by public conveyance, yet so determined was he to try his fortune in the distant Lone Star State, that he set out afoot and alone, and tramped the entire distance from Georgia to the Western frontier of Texas, where he promptly accepted the position of clerk in a country store. After many years of hard struggling, self denial and economy, he became enabled to establish a business for him- self, by purchasing a small branch store from his former employer. This opportunity was improved to the best advantage, and the foundation of a future substantial business and a sound, strong credit was carefully laid.
Men who in their youth receive a thorough drilling in adversity, and thus not only learn the intrinsic value of a dollar, but how to make and take care of one, invariably make earth's most successful business men, those who manifest actual talent and business capacity, and the rule holds as to the subject of this sketch. When the war came, he took part as a soldier and served actively for three years, but on receiving a severe wound he returned home, and as soon as he was able took up his vocation as a merchant.
At the close of the war money was very scarce in Texas, everything being uncurrent except specie, and much of the business in the merchandising line had to be done in ex- change for cattle. During 1867, and for two succeeding years, Kingsbery & Holmsley found buyers at or near home for such stock as they had taken in exchange for goods. For the next four years they sent their herds to Kansas, first to Baxter Springs, then to Ellsworth, and lastly to Coffeyville. Their annual drives would average fully twenty-five hundred head.
Finding it necessary for an agency at Kansas City, they opened a commission house there in 1872, under same firm name as the Texas business was conducted. The following year a new combination was made, and in Kansas City's stock mart the name of Matthews, Kingsbery & Co. are as familiar as household words.
As a firm they are liberal, straightforward, upright; and possess indomitable energy, coupled with integrity, financial responsibility and good practical judgment in matters pertaining to live-stock.
The house is firmly established and its business, already of enormous proportions is daily increasing. Mr. Kingsbery is of that class of men to whom any vocation or community may refer to with pride.
During the month of August, 1872, R. Nichols, who had formed connections with a prominent firm in Chicago, established a house at Kansas City under the firm name of R. Nichols & Co., and flung his shingle to the breeze. He was already quite well known in the west, having been in the western cattle trade for three years previously, besides having been an active local trader in Illinois, where he was reared to manhood although born in Ohio. Mr. Nichols was not slow in establishing a lively paying business; but the great panic dealt harshly with him, clouding his bright prospects of honorable success.
He is quick, shrewd, sharp, and a good salesman, one who can always get fair prices for his consignments. One would scarce suppose to look upon his youthful, boyish face, that he was a business man of eight years' experience, yet such is the fact.
Such are the men who first engaged in the attempt to create or establish a live stock market at Kansas City. An attempt worthy of success, and one fraught with great good to western and southern live-stock men, as well as to Kansas City, for it brings to her a lucrative commerce, amounting to many millions of dollars annually. But certain adjuncts, or aids of some commission firms, may be of interest to the general reader. Active men are employed to perform various duties; but the particular class now referred to are the solicitors -- those whose duty it is to meet every train and secure such stock as may not be consigned to any commission house. So soon as an incoming train is announced nearing the stock yards, the hurrying tramp of solicitors, vulgarly, but not inappropriately, called "Scalpers," may be heard hustling toward the unloading platform. If there is a shipper on the train whose stock is not consigned, they proceed in a cheeky sang froid manner to interview him, presenting the business cards of the commission firms which have the Scalpers employed. Such oily persuasive arguments as scarce ever fell from mortal's lips, are poured into the ear of a newly arrived shipper. But the first Scalper to reach the ear of the shipper enjoys but a brief monopoly of his attention, before a second representing another and competing house or firm, puts in not only a presence but a lip also, and with a coolness and self possession beyond comprehension, plucks the shipper to one side and begins to pump him full of the points in favor of the house, or firm, which Scalper number two serves. But before the pleasant duty is half completed, Scalper number three arrives and straightway goes to the shipper, grasps his hand in the most cordial and familiar manner, just as if he was an old schoolmate and bosom friend, although ten to one Scalper number three never saw the shipper before, and cares little whether he ever does afterward, especially if he fails to get the shipper's stock turned over to the desired firm before Scalper number four captures the shipper only to see number one, who has recharged his mortar, retake the shipper, who becomes so dumfounded and fuddled, that he scarce knows his own name, much less where he is, or what he wants. The Scalper is a distinctive type of the genus homo, is supposed to be omnivorous and brimful of bland cheek, of which he has more than an army mule; but in this he does not excel more than in facile glib talk--genuine chin-music and cool impertinence. To say he has a conscience, much less is ever checked, or restrained thereby, is to state a proposition without having an experienced observing believer. He is au fait on all matters pertaining to his firm, as well as to all points against a competitor. Nevertheless he is an "institution," a kind of necessary evil, about the propriety of maintaining which commission men differ. However when a covey of Scalpers do unitedly beset a verdant country shipper, a humane man can but feel that they are a nuisance that ought to be speedily and thoroughly abated. Sometimes a Scalper will perpetrate a sharp practical joke on some comrade, such an one as may be late getting to a newly arrived train, upon which there may be a car of horses, the shipper of which will be pointed out to the unposted Scalper, accompanied with the remark that, "That man has a load of stock for you." Then to see the Scalper rush to the man and ask him if they are natives -- if they are butchers, or shippers, cows or steers, long horns or short horns, through or wintered, and such other questions as the Scalper imagines would betoken a profound deep interest in the stranger's welfare. But when he learns that he is "sold," his indignation is only excelled by his loud curses. When the reader is told that Kansas City is not a horse market, and all those arriving there are only in transit to other points, he will comprehend the discomfiture of the Scalper.
At the beginning of the year 1873, the conviction was firm and wide-spread that at Kansas City, a complete live-stock market, was established beyond doubt. All the essential requisets and necessities existed for the creation of such a mart, and the results of the previous year had demonstrated its practicability. Early in the season several new firms and partner- ships were formed, preparatory to a vigorous summer's campaign with the bovines and porcine grunters. Among the new firms established none was more notable as being composed of substantial, practical, clear-headed business men, than that of Hunter, Pattison & Evans -- since changed to Hunter, Evans & Co. Each member of this firm is a successful live stockman of long experience, which coupled with their individual responsibility, renders their house one altogether reliable and safe, and one which adds greatly to Kansas City's young, flourishing live-stock mart. But of all the commission houses established up to July 1873, there was none which was known to, or composed in whole or in part, of local live-stock men, or such as were residents of western Missouri; or even known to the stock-feeders of that vicinity. Of course this condition or state of affairs made a good opening for the establishment of such a house, and R. C. White, long a resident of Kansas City, and well known to every stockman in the adjoining country, entered the arena of the Kansas Stock Yards and opened a live-stock commission house, under the firm name of White, Allen & Co. It did not require great forecast to see that his undertaking would be a success, or a long lapse of time to demonstrate it. From the beginning business offered, and as time progressed it greatly increased until at the end of six months the firm stood among the first in the yards. Mr. White hails the State of Kentucky as that of his birth. When but a boy he left his native State and after rambling through Texas he came to Missouri and made his home near Platte City, where his time was divided between his farm and local live-stock trading. Finally deciding that Kansas City offered superior inducements, he moved his residence there and for sixteen consecutive years followed diligently and with varying fortunes, his chosen vocation, that of live-stock trading, which embraced cattle, horses, mules, sheep, hogs -- anything, no matter what so it had four feet, either with or without horns. Seldom shipping anything away to market, but nearly always selling to some professional shipper who preferred greater risk and less work. Nevertheless Mr. White has experienced all the phases of ups and downs, fortune and adversity, so peculiar to stock traders, and that seems to be the inevitable fate of all live-stock shippers. No matter from what source his misfortune came, whether by declining markets or by surety obligations he stood square to the issue, and paid dollar for dollar till the last obligation was cancelled. Such integrity, in time, always establishes unlimited confidence in he who exhibits it, and such is the case with Mr. White. A kind, courteous, true man, whose plain, straightforward manner impresses one with his exalted unassuming manhood.
Such are the leading men who are seeking to make a great live-stock market at Kansas City--men who are laying the foundations of a mart that is destined at no distant day to rank, in numbers of live-stock received, the equal of any other in the United States. But these men are not alone or unaided in their great efforts. They have the moral and business support of every right-minded western live-stock man, as well as the encouragement of Kansas City's leading business men, besides the aid and influence of the enlightened management of every line of railroad entering the city of which there is a large number.
To conduct their business each house retains in its em- ploy a corps of assistants who are detailed to the various departments of business. Every well regulated and successful commission house employs one or more good book-keepers and accountants. These are usually young and middle-aged men of good business qualifications and steady habits, each of whom look eagerly toward to the day when they will establish a business of their own. No where in the West can a galaxy of finer, truer young men be found than in the exchange building of the Kansas City live stock mart.
It is often asked why live stock shipping can not be conducted like any other ordinary business without great losses. The reasons are various, some of which may be named. In the first place the manner in which the business is conducted in the West necessitates the shipper to buy stock often months in advance of shipping.
It is the custom when a shipper determines to ship cattle during the year or season, for him to mount his horse, traverse the cattle feeding district and contract for various lots of cattle to be received at stipulated times in the future. The shipper usually manages to have about an equal proportion of the cattle he buys or contracts for, to be received each week, so that he may have a shipment on market being sold, another going forward, and still another being received and collected at the various shipping yards along the line of railway over which he is sending the stock. Now it is plain that unless he pre-arranges his shipments he may occasionally be unable to obtain the stock, for if he has not bought ahead some other shipper has entered the field, and bought or contracted all the cattle. It is equally plain upon reflection that buying to receive ahead is much like gambling with the feeder on the future price or value of his stock. It may be compared, and not inaptly to an insurance or guaranty business in which the shipper guarantees or insures the feeder a certain price for his cattle, agreeing to take the excess realized over the price paid or stipulated for his premium on the risk taken and for his services in marketing the stock. Of course the feeder is not obliged to sell or contract his cattle in advance of delivery, and will not unless it is it a price that pays him a handsome profit, which often puts the cattle at such figures that the shipper can not realize first cost. Again, a man who ships live stock, by his continual risk soon becomes reckless and imprudent, loses his caution and "goes it blind." Again, the time between purchasing a drove of cattle in the West and the day they can be put upon the eastern market is nearly or quite two weeks in which the market often declines heavily. It requires the most extreme speculative turn of mind to constitute a live stock shipper; none other would take the risks; none other would hazard so much for the chance of gaining so little. Persistent shipping engenders loss of business prudence and creates a feverish speculative turn of mind in which there is little cool, solid judgment, but an ever increasing desire for greater operations and greater hazards. Heavy losses incurred alike with large gains stimulate the shipper to renewed efforts. In the first instance to cover, in the last to increase the amount already gained.
For one of his age it would be difficult to find a better specimen or illustration of cattle shippers than L. M. Hunter, who, although scarce more than one and a half score of years old, has shipped many thousands of cattle. Indeed he is never so happy as when he is shipping from one to three thousand head of cattle weekly. Born and reared in Illinois, his father a life-long shipper, he began shipping when but a boy, and the passion has grown with and upon him until it is more than a part of his nature. After operating upon his own account for several years, in which he experienced all the phases, successes and reverses peculiar if not inevitable, to a life-long shipper, he associated himself with his father in the firm of J. B. Hunter & Co., and took charge of and conducted the business of the firm in the west with office at Kansas City.
There are but few Western drovers who do not know him familiarly. No one ever entered the Western trade that bought so many cattle as he, and few young men had so many friends among live stock men. He is the very embodiment of energy, seemingly never caring to rest, sleep, or scarcely to eat. Sinewy, wiry, restless, always looking for an opportunity to trade, never idle for a moment and always In a hurry; withal a man of fair judgment about live stock, and a man of many good qualities of head and heart.