KanColl: The Kansas  Historical Quarterlies

Bypaths of Kansas History

February, 1945(Vol. 13 No. 5), pages 310 to 317.
Transcribed by lhn;
digitized with permission of the Kansas State Historical Society.


From the Kansas City (Mo.) Enterprise, May 9, 1857.

     You can see the emigrant from every State eastof the Mississippi, from Maine to Louisiana, and from the wild rice swamps of thefrozen North to cultivated rice fields of the far South-their peculiar habits asdistinctly marked as their geographical localities. The real Western man isthere, self reliant and taciturn-he asks no questions, for he knows exactly whatto do; he has no need of "Kansas Guides" or tickets to agents "who will tell himwhere to go, and where to settle"; he has been "through the mill," keeps his owncounsel and goes his own road. He knows exactly what prairie is worth, and whattimber will suffice, and if there is a good "claim" to be found the Western manhas it before the Eastern man gets through asking questions of the "man that hewas recommended to." Then you find the Southwestern man: he wants to know allabout the winters, the grass, and the best portions for stock raising. The manfrom the Middle States, as they were once called, is on the look out for somepoint where he can raise wheat, put up a shop, and manufacture or run machinery.The man from the Eastern Slave States wants to know "how the law is," or what"chance for a physician." Over all these the Western man has the advantage, andsecures the prize while others are inquiring where it is.

     Side by side with this population pressing uponus from the East, are seen the men of the Far West, who come to Kansas City astheir East. There is the Indian trader from the Rocky mountains, from theYellowstone, the country beyond Laramie, and the pleasant valleys lying towardthe Great Salt Lake-his almost Indian complexion and moccasins would deceive youinto the belief that he was an aborigine. . . . He knows what life on thefrontier is, and speaks as a prophet. [You will see him shake hands with the]"mountaineer," men who have made the vast country lying West of the Mississippiand stretching to the Pacific their home. . . . [The mountaineer] is the mailcarrier of all that vast region and the minister plenipotentiary between allportions of that wild and secluded country. [You next see the trader of theSouthwest] . . . from Santa Fe and the Mexican States beyond. He makes hissemi-annual visits with the regularity of the seasons themselves. . . . It is acurious mixture of races that [carries on this trade]. Intermingled with allclasses are . . . the pure and untainted Indian. . . . [When one reflects that]this tide is sweeping out through the valley of the Kansas, . . . some idea maybe gained of the present and future commerce of this "city of the plains."




From the White Cloud Kansas Chief, November 4, 1858.

     STARTLING NEW--ELOPEMENT!-Friday is supposed tobe an unlucky day. Such it has proven for White Cloud. On Friday last, thiscommunity was startled by the announcement that the pride of the town, the gem ofthe Missouri, the cynosure of admiring eyes, had been abducted-the accomplishedand peerless Julia Ann Pryor had eloped!

     The circumstances were these: During the pastsummer, a young man from the land of steady nutmegs and wooden habits, wasengaged in working on the grade, in this place. His sturdy industry, civildeportment, and economical disposition, came under the notice of the gentle JuliaAnn, and were a sure passport to her affections. And he, carrying beneath a roughexterior, a soul that could appreciate the beautiful, the virtuous, and the good,soon yielded his heart to the charmer. They met, he proposed, and was accepted.The grade at length was finished, and he was compelled to look elsewhere foremployment. But how could he leave his Julia Ann? He could not-and he determinedthat he would not. And now they made a false step, which, with due consideration,their high sense of honor would have revolted against. They did not ask theconsent of the maiden's parents. But he was poor, and perhaps had misgivings-hecould not bear to think of the dreadful consequences of a refusal from thearistocratic father and mother. So they determined, in the language of theimmortal poet, Anonymous, to

"Slide, like the tail of a greased hog from the paws of a fatDutchman!"

     On Friday morning they took their flight, amidthe chilling rain and howling wind. The robbed parents soon learned of theirloss, and were forthwith plunged into

"That grief which knows no comfort."

     But rage soon sought company with grief, in thefather's breast-rage, because he had been robbed of that which would have beengiven for the asking. The lion of his nature was aroused-that lion nature whichhad made his name feared among the hills of Monroe County, Ohio. Seizing hisfists, he started in pursuit of the fugitives, and hunted in every spot wherethey could not be found, until he was compelled to give up in despair. He saysthat what works him up the worst, is the fact that the fellow came to him, theevening before, and asked for some hay to feed his cattle, but took his daughterwithout asking for her.

     In the meantime, the fugitives were wanderingabout town, seeking, not whom they might devour, but whom they might get tofasten them together. At length they entered Van Doren's store, where they ranafoul of Squire Briggs, whom they requested to unite them in the holy bonds of"ma-trim-ony." He consented, and the expectant bridegroom "shelled out" thelawful fee of $1.50, which the squire took. He then meditated upon the subject.He had misgivings as to whether the would-be bride was of legal age; and he alsoconsidered that the time might soon come, when some indiscreet youth would stealone of his daughters, and he would think very unkindly of any justice who shouldmarry them. These considerations (especially the former) he could not get overnor creep under, so he handed back the fee, regardless of the entreaties of theyoung couple, and refused to perform upon that particular occasion.


     Here was a predicament. The fact is, the couplecould not stand it much longer;and they feared, that if they remained in this suspense, soon "Disappointment,like a big green tobacco worm, would prey upon their damask cheeks,"(Shakespeare,) and they therefore contracted their "puckering strings," andcontinued their "pursuit of matrimony under difficulties." Thus they wandered outto Padonia, where they hunted up Squire Winslow, who, being a kindhearted man,could not bear to behold their misery, and quickly tied them into a knot. . ..

     Thus endeth this happy and melancholystory-happy, because two loving hearts havefound the Eden of bliss; melancholy, because a home has been made desolate, bythe loss of its hope and joy, and an entire community has been left, in thelanguage of still another illustrious poet, to

"Weep for the Peril lost,
Mourn for the bed-bug's doom!"


From The Daily Times, Leavenworth, March 4,1859.

     The Friday-Evening Coteries end to-night with aFancy Dress-Ball. The series havebeen of an exceedingly agreeable nature. They have called out the beauty andgrace of Leavenworth, and given to the Fridays of each week a particular charm.But to-night will eclipse them all-to-night Stockton's Hall will be crowded withan array which no language can paint: for the widest range and latitude in thematter of dress, will not only be allowed, but expected; and every conceivablestyle and costume may be anticipated. We may expect the amply-folding robe, withmodest clasp, and zone on the bosom; the braided hair or veiled head; fashionsalike of the wife of a Phocian, the mistress of an Alcibiades; or perhaps shortskirts with hardened vest, and head buckled in gold or silver; or the ironbodice, stiff farthingale and spiral coiffure; or dresses more modern andmodest-of Italian flower-girls, or French grisettes, or Circassian slaves, or thelassies of our own and our mother land. In fact, there's no end to the range;for,

"What thought, what various numbers, can expressThe inconstant equipage of woman's dress."

     In fact, we don't know but what our goodlyladies propose "making up" so as torender themselves incog. The lean will probably fashion themselves after theproportions of Reuben's Graces, none of which could possibly have weighed lessthan 200 lbs. avoirdupois.

     And as far as the gentlemen are concerned, whatmay we not expect? Highlanders,and knights, and kings and courtiers, and bandits, (of the genteel sort,) andwarriors and buffoons and harlequins and minstrels, with togas, and plumes, androbes, and sashes, and gowns, and wigs, and swords, and daggers, and plumes, andfeathers, and trunk hose, and scarlet coats,-a la Voltaire,-and bare throats,-ala Byron. . .

     Well-on with the dance! We will not regret whenevening comes and the strangecompany meet, arrayed in all their plumes, to dance to the merrie music. We shallbe on hand in the garb of an editor-a disguise which needs no inquisitive eye topierce, and which generally brings to mind an idea of


unappreciated merit and ungrateful Republics. And we shall watch those daintyextremities of which Herrick so daintily sings.

"Her pretty feet,Like smiles, did creepA little out, and then,As if they started at bo-peep,Did soon draw in again."

     So-Ahoy! for the hall and the dance to-night!What matters mud or rain? Brighthearts, and dazzling robes, and lighted rooms, and stirring strains, will laughthe elements to scorn, and circle to-night with a halo of merriment and joy.

From the Times

of March 7, 1859.

     THE FANCY DRESSED BALL. Clothed in the sameunassuming garb which is wont toenvelop the outer man in our daily walk among men, we entered, on Friday eveninglast, the door leading to Stockton's Hall. We confess to have been somewhatexercised by the question whether or not we should assume a disguise. We passedin review before us all the possible and impossible characters in the range ofattainability, from the ancient Grecian Sage to the modern Border Ruffian. . . .Finding it impossible to choose . . . we rejected all, and went, as beforestated, in the undisguised yet dignified apparel of a knight of the quill.By a slight talismanic invocation known only to the fortunate brotherhood, of thescissors and the pen, we caused the door of the hall to open at our approach, andentered.

     We were impressed with the weight of theresponsibility resting on us. We knew wewere to report the occasion to the public. We were to sing this New Olympiad,vice the Nine Muses-absent on leave-most of whom were supposed to be on thefloor.

     Hardly had we mounted to the hall before thebreath was nearly knocked out of oureditorial, and therefore sacred person, by a hideous nondescript which appearedto be "neither fish, flesh, nor good red herring," but which called us by name,and wrapped us in its embrace. Extricating ourself by a powerful effort, we gazedabout.

     Very soon people and things began to assume someshape and form, and we wereenabled to see all that anybody could see through the dust and by the dimlyburning lamps. "Hands around!" and an infuriate fiend in horns seized a Spanishdonna by one hand and a hypothetical Goddess of Liberty by the other and whirledthem both away in a cloud of dust.

     "Night" in black and spangles, "Morning" inwhite and crescent, young women inhats, men in bonnets, Indians, squaws and papooses, young women in shorts, andyoung women in longs; old women, Mother Hubbard and dog.

     A supper came in good time, after which therewas more whirling and dancing, andmusic, and dust, Masks were removed, disguises became more or less dilapidated,faces began to look weary, and at three o'clock, or thereabouts, the announcementwas made that the coteries were at an end.

     Some enthusiastic brigands, aided and abetted bya few flower girls, an Indianand The Devil, with others, concluded that they "wouldn't go home 'till morning,"and kept up the, by this time, and considering the weariness of all parties,rather dubious amusement. We, thinking it was time for us at least,


to retire, having had our fill of fun, precipitably retired, and thus wasthen, or thereabouts, ended the coteries, and the Fancy Dress Ball. On the whole,although we must confess it was absurd in many features, the ball was as much ofa success as such affairs usually are, and all parties and persons seemed toenjoy themselves quite as fully as they or anybody expected.

     Sic transit gloria coteri.


Copied in The Daily Times, Leavenworth, June 10, 1859.

The Linn County Herald says that they want in Linn County "one hundredSchool Marms, who will pledge themselves not to get married within three years."We want one hundred in this county, between the ages of 18 and 21, who willpledge themselves to get married within one year, and who are willing tocommence school on one scholar.-The Kansas Express, Manhattan.


From the Atchison Union, June 25,1859.

     On Sunday night last a huge bear made hisappearance in Our city. Whether he wasdriven in by the storm, or by a pack of dogs we are unable to say. He wasattacked by some fifty dogs near the corner of 5th, on Commercial street, andfinally succeeded in making his escape through the western part of the city.Probably bruin saw the elephant, and returned to the rural districtssatisfied.


From the Marysville Enterprise, November 10, 1866.

     An exchange says that the other day while a bigIndian was calmly surveying a"white squaw" with large hoops on, he exclaimed: "Ugh! heap wigwam 1"


From the Kansas Daily Tribune, Lawrence, May 29, 1868.

     ENTERPRISE.-Five Kaw Indians started from thiscity yesterday, with the avowedintention of walking to Washington City. The interpreter stated that PresidentJohnson had promised, sometime since, to give one of the party a pony and someother presents, but having failed to redeem the promise they intended to learnthe cause. He thought they could make the trip in sixteen days, and would beenabled to find the way by following the railroad and telegraph lines. They weremaking good railroad time down the Union Pacific road when last seen, and we maysoon expect to hear of their arrival at the great impeachment center.



From the Leavenworth Daily Conservative, June 16, 1868.

     We presume it is unnecessary to advise everybodyto go to the slow mule raceto-day. All who have seen one of those entertaining affairs will certainly go.There is more amusement in them than in all other kinds of turf sports combined.Upwards of twenty entries have already been made. The stock will all be ridden byofficers of the army. The race commences at 4 o'clock p. m.


Ft. Leavenworth, Kan.

June Meeting,
Tuesday, June 16th, 1868--4 P. M.


Officers' Purse, $50.


1. General Custer enters Hyankedank, by Hifalutin, out of Snollygoster, seconddam Buckjump, by Thunder, out of You Bet. Age, three score years and ten. Colors,ring-ed, streak-ed and strip-ed.
2. General McKeever enters Hard Tack, by Commissary, by Eaton, (eatin',) seconddam Contractor, by Morgan, out of Missouri. Age, forty years. Colors, purple,tipped with orange.
3. Colonel Parsons enters Symmetry, (see me try,) by Considerably, out of Pocket,second dam Polly Tix, by Nasby, out of Office. Age, seventeen years. Colors,uncommonly blue.
4. Captain Yates enters William Tell, by Switzerland, by Apple Tree, second damGessler, by Hapsburg, out of Austria. Age, eighteen years. Colors, applegreen.
5. Lieutenant Leary enters Trump, by Card, out of Contractor, second dam Leader,by Mule Teer, out of Wagon. Age, ten years. Colors, lemon. 6. Lieutenant Jacksonenters Abyssinia, by Napier, out of Africa, dam Theodorus, by Solomon, out ofMagdala. Age, thirty-nine years. Colors, scarlet, yellow spots.
7. Colonel Myers enters Pizzarro, by Peru, out of South America, second damCuzco, by Incas, out of Andes. Age, sixteen years. Colors, light brown.
8. Lieutenant Umbstaetter enters Skirmisher, by Picket, out of Camp, second damCarbine, by Breech Loader, out of Magazine. Age, twenty-five years. Colors, darkblue, tipped with red.
9. Lieutenant Moylan enters Break Neck, by Runaway, out of Wouldn't Go, seconddam Contusion, by Collision, out of Accident. Age, fifty-six. Colors, skyblue.


10. Captain Buntington enters Spavin, by Quartermaster, out of ,Government,second dam (not worth one.)
11. Lieutenant Howe enters Slow, by Tardy, out of Late, second dam Lazy, byInactive. Age, three times six, four times seven, twenty-eight and eleven.Colors, queer.
12. Lieutenant Dunwoody enters Horatio, by Dexterity, by Taunt, second dam Estop.Age, fourteen years. Colors, tawny.
13. Captain Weir enters Revolutionist, by Hard Luck, out of Rib Smasher, seconddam Blood Blister, by Can't Stand It, out of Let's Quit.

NOTE.-The money accruing from this race is to be devoted to the support of thewidows and orphans made so thereby.

From the Daily Conservative, June 17, 1868.

     THE RACES YESTERDAY-Whew! wasn't it warm, anddidn't the people turn out ingorgeous array-some in coaches, some in buggies, some on horseback, and some insix-mule chariots. Everybody and his wife was there. On the road it was hot anddusty; in the track enclosure the immense elms spread their welcome arms, and theheated thousands cooled themselves on the green grass. All were on the tip-toe ofexpectation. Critical judges of ani-mules were examining the good points of theirfavorite mules, and betting their bottom twenty-five cents on No. 9, or thepainted mule. No. 9 was a gothic structure, with an expressive (of pain)countenance, and was wearing his first coat of paint-white in spots. He wasridden with much dexterity, and was twelve minutes making his mile.

     The ladies were out in full force, and enlivenedthe scene. The Fort Banddiscoursed some excellent music, and every arrangement was carried out promptly.Eleven mules were entered for the race. Each mule was ridden one hundred yards byhis owner, to the judges' stand, and numbered, with red paint, on the flank. Thejudges then had the riders change mules, so that no man rode his own animal.They were started from the score at the tap of the triangle. Some went in onedirection, and some took to the brush. Only two or three kept the track, and onthey went, cutting and slashing, each man urging the mule he was riding.

     Occasionally a rider was seen coming through thegrass and taking the track. Allpointed the same direction, at last, and after three anxious moments, LieutenantJackson hove in sight, and rounded into the home stretch away ahead, landing hismule (No. 5) at the judges' stand in four minutes. As they came stringing along,time was taken of each, and that mule's record passed down to posterity andWilkes' Spirit. After fifteen long and anxious minutes, (the crowd all the timeholding their breath) Lieutenant Huntington reached the score, completelyexhausted, the anxiety, labor, and length of time since his departure havingturned his hair nearly gray. The band immediately struck up, "See, the ConqueringHero Comes."

     The second race was a single dash of a quartermile, four entries, and was won byCaptain Weir's beautiful thoroughbred horse, in 23 seconds.The crowd then started home, pleased with the half holiday and the entertainmentgiven by the gentlemanly officers of Fort Leavenworth.



From the Daily Kansas State Record, Topeka, December 28, 1869.

     An Indian in Montgomery county set fire to theprairie because one of thesettlers would not give him some pork.


From the Kansas Daily Commonwealth, Topeka, February 8, 1870.

Wild Bill [Hickok] was up before Judge Holmes yesterday, and fined fivedollarsfor striking straight out from the shoulder and consequently hitting a man.


From The Sumner County Press, Wellington, July 16, 1874.

     Thousands of bushels of wild plums are ripeningon the Arkansas, Ninnescah andChikaskia rivers. These plums grow on dwarf trees, in some instances covering theentire shrub with a mass of pink and yellow fruit. So abundant are they that asmall party can gather a wagon load in a few hours. They are nearly equal to thebest cultivated varieties.


From the Marion County Record, Marion, August 8, 1874.

     Owing to the destruction of the shade bygrasshoppers, the 2d quarterly meetingof the Marion Centre charge will be held in the Presbyterian church in connectionwith a basket meeting, commencing Friday, Aug. 14. Ministerial aid from abroad.Both saint and sinner are cordially invited to attend. First service, Friday, at11 A. M. Jno. HAMS.


From the Jetmore Reveille, September 9, 1885.

     Dr. Eckert reports having seen a very novel signposted on an abandoned dugout inthe vicinity of Sunset City, a new town springing up and intended for the futurecounty seat of the southwest corner county [Morton]. It was as follows.

"Two hundred feet to water,
Seventy-five miles to wood,
and Six inches to Hell;
     God bless our home."

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