Kansas Historical Quarterly - North Central Kansas in 1887-1889
From the Letters of Leslie and Susan Snow
of Junction City
Edited by Lela Barnes
Autumn 1963 (Vol. XXIX, No. 3), pages 267 to 323
Transcribed by Karen Huft; HTML editing by Name withheld upon request;
digitized with permission of the Kansas Historical Society.
NOTE: The numbers in brackets are links to footnotes for this text.
LESLIE PERKINS SNOW (1862-1934) came to Kansas in November, 1887, as an examiner for the U. S. bureau of pensions and continued in this position until May, 1889. His headquarters were in Junction City.
He was a native of New Hampshire, the only son of Edwin and Helen Perkins Snow of Snowville. It had been expected that Leslie would succeed to the management of his father's sawmill, general store, and 1,800 acres of forest and farm land, but after attending Fryeburg and Bridgton academies in Maine, he went to Dartmouth and was graduated in the class of 1886. He was a member of the New Hampshire House of Representatives, 1887-1888, and served six months before going to Washington to begin the study of law. At this time, he also worked in the offices of the pension bureau and was given the appointment that brought him to Kansas. 
The letters here reproduced were written by Leslie to his fiancée, Susan Eliza Currier of Haverhill, N. H., and by Susan to members of her family after she came to Kansas late in 1888 as Leslie's bride. Like her husband, Susan came from conservative New England stock, and both viewed the Kansas scene with amazement, delight, and occasional shock. It is possible that in informing Susan about people, conditions, and experiences in his Western location, Leslie was mildly influenced by the rather free presentation of facts he sometimes encountered.
In 1889 Leslie and Susan went to Washington to live while Leslie finished his legal education at the law school of Columbian University (now George Washington University). He was graduated with the class of 1890. After a year in the lumber business with his father in Snowville, he passed the New Hampshire bar examination and began the practice of law in Rochester in that state. His distinguished career in both civic and public affairs included service as a justice of the New Hampshire Supreme Court, 1921-1932. Susan bore him two sons, Conrad and Leslie. She died in 1892 and her sister, Norma, came to care for the two small boys. She and Leslie were married in 1894.
The letters were graciously lent to the Society by the elder son of Leslie and Susan, Conrad E. Snow, a practicing attorney residing in Gilmanton Iron Works, N. H. Like his father, Conrad Snow has served in many fields with distinction. He provided valuable information and suggestions for the editing of the letters.
Passages omitted in the printed letters were mainly comments on family and personal affairs. Some of Susan's letters in the series were omitted altogether because they were not relevant to her life in Kansas.
II. THE LETTERS OF LESLIE PERKINS SNOW. 1887, 1888
WASHINGTON, D. C. November 27, 1887
MY DEAR SUSIE:
Another week has gone very quickly and one event has succeeded another so closely that I can hardly recollect a spare moment, it has been a week so well filled that I may as well give you a brief history of it. I seldom write history -- and the meanest of all is for one to write his own. Yet I'm equal to the task. One week ago this evening I attended a sacred concert given by the artist cornetist Levy (by the way his real name is Levi -- he's a Jew). He was splendid, it would have done your soul good to have listened -- the rest of the troupe was rats.
Monday morning I hied me to the Pension Office where my supervisor Dr. Browning kindly took me to the Navy & Survivors' where a correspondence is kept up with all the old soldiers and Grand Army organizations so as to know the whereabouts of soldiers in order to facilitate in settling pension claims. We then went to the Recording division where a record of all the proceedings of the Pension Office are kept.
Then to the Adjudicating division where the cases are made up and prosecuted, and finally to the Law & Medical divisions which decide respectively the Law & Medical questions.
Tuesday afternoon I obtained leave of absence by consent of Gen. Mc. E. Dye, and visited the White House. I was unfortunate however in the fact that Mr. Cleveland, I should say President, was in Cabinet meeting and so I did not see him. I however visited the great East room which is quite an interesting thing in itself though I understand by no means as richly furnished as the Green, Blue or Red rooms.
I then went to the Corcoran Art Gallery.  This is very fine. The building cost $350,000. The basement is occupied by the sculpture and bronze works mostly of the ancient order. It is a very fine collection. The next floor is occupied by paintings; these are grand and well worth a long and careful study while I spent only an hour in their midst.
But I must stop and describe one painting -- It was that of Charlotte Corday in Prison by Charles Louis Muller. She is the character in history of the French Republic who stabbed the bloodthirsty Marat to the heart while making out a fresh list of victims for the guillotine. The painting represents her in prison while awaiting her death as punishment for her deed. It is the most touching thing I ever saw in a picture. Her drooping head rests languidly against the rusty bars of her prison window which she clasps in her delicate hand. The guide describes it just right when he speaks of the noble, pale face looking through the grating with a thrilling earnest mournfulness. It touched even my stony nature. But this is only one of hundreds of paintings of which I presume this is considered an inferior one. Well Wednesday morning Mr. Browning took me to the Board of Review where Mr. Van Mater let me into the workings of that department. As Wednesday was a day before a holiday we were dismissed from office at 3 o'clock. I went directly down to the Smithsonian Institution, which you will remember is devoted to science. Here is a wonderful array of taxidermy, -- birds of every kind and clime, all sorts of fishes, mummies, Indian antiquities -- the product of the Western mounds -- unearthed remains of bygone generations of red men. Weeks might profitably be spent there.
Thanksgiving!! A holiday! I determined to celebrate this by a visit to the Mecca of America -- the tomb of Washington. 10 o'clock Thursday morning found me on board the steamer W. W. Corcoran and steaming down the broad Potomac. It is I think from one to two miles broad. As we glided down the river we passed the U. S. Arsenal and Barracks with its frowning guns and piles of cannon balls. Alexandria with its old buildings was soon at our right. I saw the hotel from which Col. Ephraim Ellsworth was shot while taking down the Rebel Flag. It is said that this town has not seen a new building since the war while before it was one of the most promising towns in Virginia.
We passed Forts Foot and Washington. The latter is a venerable old stone structure which in my opinion would stand about ten minutes bombardment.
It was about 12 noon when we landed on the Virginia shore at Mt. Vernon. It must be just a lovely place in midsummer but even now is pretty. We first visited the tomb. It is plain but substantial. Looking through an iron barred gate we see the two sarcophaguses containing the Father & Mother of our Country. We then went to the house which is a grand old mansion of wood in imitation of stone. It is left as nearly in the condition in which Washington last saw it as possible. Upon the walls are the pictures as they were then. The key to the French Prison Bastille which was a present from Lafayette hangs upon the wall. There is also to be seen a model of the prison made from a stone which was taken from the ruins.
Notable among the articles in memory of Washington was the old compass which Washington used in his younger days. The suit in which he made his farewell address -- his sword etc. There was also to be seen a chair which was a part of the furniture of the Mayflower in its first trip to America. The bed upon which Washington died is there. The furniture is all antique. We then went to the greenhouse and grounds where we were shown a hedge planted by Lawrence Washington a brother of Washington in 1741 which is still growing. Also a sago palm which Washington prized very highly. The top of this plant was burned up with the greenhouse but sprouted again. I took my Thanksgiving dinner in the old kitchen in which Washington's food was cooked one hundred years ago. It consisted of a sandwich and cup of coffee. We returned to Washington where we arrived at 3.30. But on the way we were entertained by a violinist. I must say this his music was beautiful. I think it must have eclipsed even your Mr. Miller. On my arrival in Washington I went to the National Museum. This is the most extensive of all the public buildings I have yet visited except the Capitol itself. This museum covers 21/2 acres. The building cost $250,000, while its contents are valued at $800,000. In it is almost every conceivable animal living or extinct, i. e. they are extinct now and prepared by the taxidermist. It also contains all the presents which other nations have made us, plans of all the noted ships, casts of all races, while botany and mineralogy are extensively represented. I think I could profitably have spent two weeks in looking it through. Friday afternoon I was sent out with Mr. Theodore Smith a special examiner here in town to see him about his business and to catch on to the modus operandi of special examining.
He seems to be a fine man -- is married -- and I should think spends his money as he goes. He took us in his own conveyance -- I say us, Mr. Harnsberger and myself, to the Arsenal where we took the deposition of Major Somebody(?). As he had no other work which we could proceed with at once he said we would see the town so we rode for the P. M. And I assure you Washington is a town of fine residences and beautiful avenues. I could not describe all to you.
Friday evening by the kindness of Mr. Neas an employee of the Pension Office I went with him to a lecture at the Georgetown Law School where I listened to a very fine lecture on Real Property.
Saturday P. M. I got through work as usual at 3. I went down to the old theater where Lincoln was shot but as they are at present moving the contents to the new building, I could not see the Medical Museum which has been there since Lincoln's death. I missed a great treat. I went to the Capitol where I visited the Senate Chamber, Hall of Representatives, Supreme Court Room, Hall of Statuary etc., etc. At least I spent the hour which I had in walking through the grand old halls, rooms, and corridors.
I then went to the Botanical gardens where I saw trees and plants from all parts of the world. Saturday evening I called upon Mrs. Howes to return a book, John Logan's Conspiracy which is a history of our late war.  It is a book of 500 pages. I have read it this week during my spare moments. This morning, I went to church again at the President's church. President and Mrs. were not there but Mrs. Cleveland's Mother was present viz. Mrs. Folsorn.
This P. M. I'm going to the St. Augustine colored Roman Catholic Church where I expect to hear the finest music in the city. Now I will leave it to your candid judgment if this has not been a week of experiences. It certainly has been an intellectual feast. I've thought of you many times and wished you could be enjoying it with me. It would have been so very pleasant and I know from your disposition you would have enjoyed much more than I. But we will hope that sometime you may have the opportunity to see all this and much more.
Well I have another bit of news which will, I think, interest you. I've been informed quite positively of my field. I expect to go to Junction City, Kansas. This city is situated at the junction of the Smoky Hill and Republican rivers. It is a center with four RR's running one for each point of the compass. I am to have ten counties under my charge mostly west of Junction City. Junct. City has from 2 to 3 thousand inhabitants. This is as far as I could judge without having been on the ground just where I would like to go. It is on the Union Pacific. I hope to go this coming week. I will however let you know if I start.
I met Congressman McKinney from N. H. last evening on the street. Since writing this I've been to St. Augustine. The services were very entertaining.
L. R. SNOW
If I've written too much at length scold me.
WASHINGTON, D. C. December 1st, 1887
Leave Washington via Baltimore & Ohio R. R. via Cincinnati, St. Louis Kansas City -- for Junction City at 9.40 this evening.
L. P. Snow
U. S. Pension Examiner
Very Truly but Hastily
P.S. Called on the President yesterday and on Congressman McKinney last evening.
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., Dec. 4th 1887
MY DEAR SUSIE:
I am at last at my headquarters -- after a long but I assure you a very pleasant journey. I set out from Washington Thursday evening at 9.40. I intended to have taken the Penn. R. R. via Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Pa., Columbus, Ohio, etc., but I concluded in consideration of the company of Mr. Harnsberger who came west the same day to come by the B. & O. R. R. which goes up the Potomac through West Virginia (Grafton & Parkersburg], Cincinnati, Ohio, St. Louis, Kansas City, Mo.
Mr. Harnsberger came with me as far as Cincinnati, Ohio, when he left to go to his home in Ill, where he would stop and visit Mrs. [omission] over Sunday and then set out for his headquarters which are to be at Emporia, Kansas.
Well of course we are entitled to the first class service and determined to have a pleasant journey. This was marred only for a short distance. We retired soon after we got aboard Thursday evening but the B. & O. (Baltimore and Ohio) R. R. is a very peculiar road. It is built through a very hilly country -- a country passable for R. R.'s only by numerous curves and tunnels. I don't believe there can be two miles of straight road the whole distance from Washington to Parkersburg on the Ohio River. Every body seemed seasick in the morning and I must acknowledge I felt something that way myself but it lasted but a little while. By the way the principal cause of the sickness which all seemed to suffer from was the gas which filled the cars as we plunged into the tunnels. This is a peculiarity of the B. & O. R. R. by common repute. But this over and the remainder of the trip was just magnificent -- one vast panorama -- a grand natural theater which I enjoyed as much as any play I ever saw. I must say of West Virginia that it possesses the meanest residences I ever saw. Small, scarcely large enough for one room, old, dirty huts. I doubtless did not see the most prosperous part of the state. When we got to Parkersburg which is the point where we crossed the Ohio River it was eleven o'clock; after we had crossed it was only 10 o'clock so everybody set their watches back and lived the hour over again.
In West Virginia & Ohio a light snow had fallen but southern Ohio was a very fair country by way of contrast with West Virginia at least. We stopped at Cincinnati for supper where I separated from my friend. It was rainy the remainder of my journey nearly to Kansas City when it cleared off nicely. We left Cincinnati at 9 o'clock. I slept like a log all night and thus passed through Indiana and nearly through Ill, without being any the wiser for my visit. But he assured I was up in season to witness our passage over that famous bridge over the Mississippi at St. Louis. It is a grand thing. I believe including abutments it is a mile in length. After crossing this we plunged into the tunnel and passed under the city of St. Louis coming up at the Central Depot.
Here I breakfasted and set out for Kansas City. This day (Saturday) was the most beautiful of all. We were given car with beautiful reclining chairs and everything made comfortable. After we had left the city of St. Louis we found ourselves upon a vast prairie cut up into farms, cornfields and the like. On all sides the horizon seemed to be on a level with us. This to me was a sublime scene. The dwellings small but they looked very cozy. I can't describe to you the beauties of this scene to me. Your mother doubtless is familiar with this country. We ran very fast, making 276 miles St. Louis to Kansas City in 9 hours and 40 minutes. Taking out the time we stopped at Montgomery for dinner made our speed 30 miles per hour. And as we made many stops we must have been going much of the time 40 to 50 miles per hour. It seemed much different than our Eastern trains.
At Kansas City I waited some over two hours and employed my spare time in calling upon a witness in a pension case which had been put into my hands to be examined some 300 miles west of here. I was not expected to trouble myself about this witness but I discovered that he might be of great importance in the case.
After some little search in a strange city and a dark night without a guide, I found my man. But he couldn't even remember the soldier -- so much for my pains. But he put me on track of a clue which I think will develop into evidence. In my effort I was rewarded by a ride on the Kansas City Cable R. R.  which enabled me to make a long distance in a short time. And in the meantime saw the city fire department in full display to fight fire which was not entirely without interest. I set out for Junction City at 9.40 after having spent nearly three quarters of an hour coming the red-tape act of procuring government R. R. transportation, filling out some six or seven papers and being sent from one official to another till I got my ticket and check. I took sleeper and slept soundly till 2 o'clock this morning when the conductor gave me the warning that we were approaching Junction City.
I came to the Bartell House where I put in four hours more sleep. 
Have been out surveying the landscape and made a tour of the city -- yes city -- but I can walk right out of it into the country in any direction in five minutes.
The average house is about large enough to hold my trunk and boots.
The Fire Department building is the largest building in the city and finest. The hotels and public buildings are the only large buildings in the city.
Streets broad, muddy, and dirty sidewalks to correspond. But this is unavoidable so must make the best of it. Am nicely and am enjoying everything thus far.
A man tried to run off my hand bag at St. Louis but got sadly left.
Please address me as
U S Pension Examiner
Junction City, Kansas Very Truly
P.S. I find I have enough on hand to do.
The gentleman who came here before I did had on his hands some 8 cases when he first came here. He was a steady worker but there accumulated on his hands in spite of his efforts 60 cases. So you see I have all I can possibly do in six months if I did not receive any more till I was even with the board. I have also been given three extra cases outside of my territory which will doubtless cause me several hundred miles travel especially as one of them is in Western Kansas.
I expect you are on a visit and will not get this in a hurry so I shall not look for a letter at once.
I won't bother you with any more recital of these matters of business now.
It would be convenient to have you here to keep my papers straight -- perhaps me too.
However we can't always consult our convenience. I hope this will find you much better. Please take care of yourself. I will do likewise as a consideration.
Have engaged a room at this house. I had no alternative as the private residences are so small that they have no spare room.
Shall be in town tomorrow docketing cases and getting ready for work -- then to biss, with a vim.
L. ABILENE, KANS., Dec. 12th 1887
I am what you may call nomadic in my habits -- believe that means wandering. I can hardly locate myself long enough to write a letter.
I believe I wrote you last at Junction City. Well I left Junction City Tuesday Dec. 6th and went north about 30 to 40 miles to Clay Center, Clay Co. Kan. It was a beautiful ride through a beautiful country. Stopped at the Comstock House -- that is I stopped there while I stopped anywhere.
Hired a team the next morning (Wednesday) -- by the way a team consists here of a span always. A few single teams are to be seen about the cities but none out in the country. So I hired a rig which consists of two horses and a light buggy and being rigged out I set out.
The livery man told me I could find no one without a guide but as I like to hunt I thought I would be my own guide.
I went that day east to Grant Township to find one Frank Sheinkonig. I succeeded in finding my man but after a great many turns and bouts. It was a beautiful day and such a lovely ride. I wished you were along with me. A gay little span, a light buggy. a smooth road and away we went at a right smart gait. The country is not level as one might be inclined to suppose but rolling. It lies in great waves. When on the top of one wave you can see many miles each way. The crests of these waves seem some four or five miles apart -- the hollows between are not deep -- very few hills but you can make at a trot.
Well as I said I found my man and took my first deposition. I took the whole family by the way. Frank Rodrigo and Josephine -- three depositions. Sheinkonig is a German. I was told that he was well fixed so I can tell you what that means: A house twenty by ten feet, two rooms one story high, enter cellar by trap door, a windmill to pump water some seventy feet from the subterranean regions; a haystack for a barn -- large stock of cattle, hogs, hens & horses; a wooden cage to scare crows or put corn in I don't know which. These constituted what I could see of his well-fixedness.
I went into the parlor among the furniture of which were the cook- stove & bed. Mrs. S. sat on the bed and told me her knowledge of the soldier's blindness, how she gave him the first dinner he had after he got out of the Army and other valuable information. She served me up a dinner of one course -- white bread and butter and good milk. She was so delighted to see a real live man who had seen the president and actually been in the White House that she wouldn't take any pay. I've tried to work the same racket on some of the 3.00 per diem hotels but they don't catch on.
I returned to Clay Center after searching for Patrick [illegible], but Pat, was away. He called on me at the Comstock next day and I took him. I believe his story is false; I made him contradict himself three times and snarled him all up.
I went that day to the East to see a Dr. Lanning. Found the Dr. and took him. I also took a young man along with me for company who is asst. postmaster at Clay Center. He seemed very nice and jovial. We went to Green to see another man whom I found. His name is peculiar -- I am. And so he was.
The next day Friday I went S. W. to Exeter Township and to Idana where I took two depositions. Saturday I went S. E. to Bala, Riley Co., and got Jim [illegible]. This man lived in the ground, couldn't write his name -- said he was no scholar. I returned to Clay Center that night in time to call upon an old dutchman Klipsche and then take night train to Junction City where I arrived 10 o'clock.
I averaged to ride 25 miles per day and take two depositions while north. Despite the fact that yesterday was the Sabbath I had to attend to writing. Wrote all day and this A. M., and took noon train for Abilene where I am for the night. Shall go to Enterprise several miles East tomorrow morning then back tomorrow night directly on to Salina -- then south to Pliny -- back at night and right on to Sylvan Grove. Then after doing what I may find there, back to Abilene and to Junction City for another Sabbath.
No end of work, 60 cases on hand to begin with: others have been sent till I now have 75. Can't handle more than four or five per week. So you can see I've enough on hand.
This is indeed a lovely country. I'm enjoying it thus far very much. No time to study now. Your very nice letter awaited to greet me on my return to Junction City I enjoyed it very much. Are you still feeling very poorly? You must get strong. It would do me worlds of good to step into Haverhill over Sunday. I think it much better to do house work but you must not over-do in that
All you write me about Haverhill is very nice and very interesting to me. Please don't think you must write as much as I scribble. Everything is new here to me and I see so many things to write about that I have no end.
There is no need of a dugout in the Winter. There are no cyclones this season but in the summer. They have blizzards in the winter -- cold piercing winds which nearly freeze for days together. I've not experienced one yet. Though I have needed two overcoats riding all day. Shall wear a rubber overcoat outside of these later
Have not yet seen a familiar face since left Washington and only two Cong., McKinney & W. M. Hatch, 86 (and his bro.) since I left Boston. They call easterners tender feet here.
I find great friends among the postmasters who are Uncle Sam's property. They are all very kind and obliging.
Well I don't have the least idea what I've said but it is what it is as I'm what I am.
Very Truly with Love
Address Junction City as usual.
I didn't notice I'd left a blank. This is too bad -- something interesting might have been said here for aught I know but it can't be helped, it's a blank in my history Remember me in your dreams.
ABILENE, KANS., Dec 17th 1887
MY DEAR SUSIE:
I wish you a merry Xmas although I suppose I am rather in a hurry but you know real enthusiastic good wishes burst out spontaneously and don't wait for dates.
This has been a week of activity for me as usual. Left Junction 12 Monday. Historian again! Well never mind. Came to this little town and a pretty little town it is, too. Think I'll have to pick out a home here, but that is the thought of a moment. It is the cleanest -- best houses -- nicest looking people I've seen. When East to Enterprise Tuesday found my men 14 miles into country, took dinner at a farm house. Real nice old people; set out in old age to make their fortune in West. Mrs. Thought it cruel -- wanted to go back to Ohio. They sat for an hour after dinner and told me stories of blizzards, cyclones etc. A near neighbor's house was taken up by wind one night -- turned half about and started off in wrong direction to town. When he found out mistake said he felt something jar in the night. One farmer had a tin pan blown ten miles.
A woman clung to tree during a cyclone -- wind blew her dress all to shreds. Etc., etc.
The teller of this asked the blessing on the wheat cakes and butter which I ate, and has the best of standing in community.
Came back to Abilene Tuesday night, off to Pliney Wed. morning, South twenty miles by R. R. I found that no such a town existed it had been swallowed up in Gypsum City. Let me remind you that Kan. Has no villages. Only cities and single dwellings. Stopped of course at Gypsum House. This is a town of rapid growth such as is very common in Kans. 18 m. ago one house occupied the present city location. The old resident was the very man whom I wanted to see. He had risen suddenly from a simple farmer 20 miles from R. R. station to grand nabob of a city. His principal business was to stand and loaf about town and sell lots. This city (?) was about twice as large as Snowville -- contained fifty houses. Has a bank, hotel and brass-band. Corner lots $500. Pigs in street. Citizens say it is to be the metropolis of the world. Came back to Salina on night train. Do you remember that Geo. C. Stebbins was from Salina? Well I didn't take pains to hunt him up. When up to clothing house with a young man (clerk) whom I met at hotel. Here I saw the first familiar face seen since I left Washington. It was Dr. Brown. Doct., '86, left college before completing course -- we called him Wreck for short -- fine dress -- beautiful office -- claims to have $6,000 practice.
West to Lincoln Co. & Russell Co. Thursday morning -- train crawled along 9 miles per hour. Engineer stopped train and went out shooting quail -- no hurry -- no danger of blocking track -- one train a day. Every ten miles or such a matter a new town. Some of these cities are yet to be, the depot being the only building in the town yet built but the town all laid out and named -- the position of the public buildings all designated.
I stopped at a town, Lucas, six months old. Of course I stopped at Lucas House -- a rough board but dirt everywhere despite newness. All the people in town boarded at hotel. Saw three women in town. About ten buildings. All the people were Missourians and Kentuckians -- roughs I called them. Stayed all night with them. Rough boards hung for doors. Last and cheering remark of landlord, You probably won't be murdered.
Got three depositions of an old doctor. Had perfect confidence of community (?) but told me that on one occasion he held a whole tribe of Indians, over 100, at bay -- and fought the whole crowd.
Took two more depositions and set out for Salina. Passed evening then took midnight train for Abilene. Shall take midnight train to Junction City tonight -- R. R. connections are superb here in west??????? It is most train time; will write to you again sometime during week.
Sent a little package by ex. Which you will doubtless rec. all right.
I hope you admire my penmanship.
DOWNS, KANS., Dec. 21st, 1887
MY DEAR SUSIE:
I left J. City Monday P.M. and came via Abilene & Solomon City to Beloit, stopped over night there. At this time a blizzard set in. Now I presume that does not convey a full knowledge of what the experience is. A blizzard is simply a cold northern terrific and steady wind. The thermometer only 4 below but no clothing would keep the cold wind out. I had started for Smith County but concluded to stick by the cities while the wind was up. So stopped at Cawker City. Tuesday & Wed. forenoon and then at Downs Wed. P.M. & then to Gaylord Smith Co. Thursday.
This letter was interrupted two lines above by the arrival of train which took me from Downs to Gaylord. Am now at Beloit.
But I'm there no longer: that is not where I was -- I'm at the depot putting in some heavy waiting -- I'm smaller than I was a few moments ago -- being consolidated by the jolting of an old stage coach.
But to return to the history. The blizzard lasted from Monday till Wednesday P.M. In the mean time I hung about the towns doing cases I had taken along for such an emergency. It (the wind) let up Wednesday P.M. and Thursday I went to Gaylord and took a span ten miles into the country only to have the satisfaction of not finding my man -- he was out west at work the R. R. A very pleasant drive was my only reward for Uncle Sam's $3.00 paid for livery.
The waiter at the hotel at Gaylord had a peculiar history as given me by the landlord. She has been brought up with the cowboys on a ranch in western Kansas till she was 16 yrs. -- an outdoor life -- and on horse back most of time. She keeps two ponies now and had taken a $200 prize at a jockey-cap race only a few days before. This was the occasion of the landlord's remarks -- a fearless rider.
Came back to Cawker City same night and to Beloit next morning Friday -- took a deposition in town -- then drove fifteen miles into country & back at 4 P.M. in season for another deposition before tea.
Still another in the evening. This morning (Saturday) I drove into country nine miles & ret. and obtained a deposition. I think hereafter I will write that word dep. for short -- this life is too short and sweet to waste in long words.
Well while I was taking that dep. the cat had a fit -- that is it seemed so to me. The farmer caught her by the nape of the neck and threw her down with the remark that it was only a sandbur under her lip. I will enclose a specimen which said farmer donated to me if I don't forget it. They are very plenty and materially interfere with the bare-footed small boys' comfort. The cat seemed to enjoy it -- she was particularly lively and playful. You might experiment on your pet cat if the specimen doesn't loose its shape before it reaches you. I wish you a happy new year (excuse change in subject) and hope you had a merry Xmas.
I am now bound for Junction City where I will arrive tomorrow morning (Sunday) 2 o'clock providence permitting.
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., Dec. 26, 1887
MY DEAR SUSIE:
I can not tell you how much I enjoyed your letter which was a sufficient Xmas present in itself. After mail hour yesterday 4 o'clock I forgot my business and sat down to enjoy my Xmas. The enjoyment was keen. I can't tell you how much I really enjoyed my mail -- and I really think it was the first time since I came to Kansas that I gave loose reins to my thoughts and wandered way hack to New Eng. That doesn't mean that I've not thought of you all -- very much -- but that I haven't just given away to my feelings before and just devoted myself to thinking.
Your letter -- a letter from your mother -- one from my home -- letters from my sisters -- It was a grand reunion. Even Uncle Sam didn't forget to send me six new cases (or two weeks work) with lots of other official communications. You speak of a box -- it did not make as good time as the letter, but I trust will arrive safely. If it comes in the morning mail I will make mention of it -- if not you must describe the package to me as there are several packages in the office with the names torn from them and it will be necessary to describe the box in order to claim it.
It must have been a very pleasant surprise indeed to listen to the music which you love so much and enjoy a call from the Doctor.
Your fair certainly was a success. I present myself as an available heathen. Fifty-six -- that's about my size. I prefer the coin -- no tracts please.
Susie I didn't give you credit for all my Xmas enjoyment which was due to you. I received two letters from you and the first was as nice as the last. Especially as it gave me an idea of Mrs. J. M. -- small is she? Well John and I have a mania for little folks it seems. Hope John doesn't look as thin as he did when I last saw him. I hope he is happy. I know I would be if I could have my little girl with me as he has his. I din'a ken (if that's right) how long it will be but I wish it were right now. But there, it is nice to know that it can be whenever we say. But it is a little harder to say when it best be. If I were at one place all my time I'm thinking I'd make it to be best right away, but one day out of seven wouldn't make home very pleasant I fear now. If time is passing slow with you and you have decided wishes I hope you will be frank with me and tell me all. I would not let my selfish ideas in regard to circumstances keep us separated if I thought you were suffering because of them. You must be just as frank with me as you would be with another self.
But Susie, you have a shadow and distance doesn't make it any less substantial and reliable. Though I do wish sometimes that the distance wasn't quite as substantial.
Please excuse my change of stationery. I write on whatever I find at hand. I must sit back and laugh -- the idea of my writing to you, the best friend I have on earth, on any old scrap that came to hand as though the idea were not choice enough to merit good paper.
I am loafing today at Uncle Sam's expense. I have a right to take the day in lieu of Christmas so I've taken it. Tomorrow I go south to Council Grove, Morris Co. to investigate a poor old father's claim.
Please a happy new year to all. I started to write you something of the experiences of the week while at Downs & afterwards at Beloit but fate seemed to be determined I shouldn't. I will enclose the fragments in order to lend variety to the stationery.
I will have to close now but in doing so I want to tell you what I have many many times before -- that I love you with all my heart. There is no other who shares with you the kind of love which I have for you or who ever shall.
I am as ever
Very truly yours,
P.S. I write your mother today.
ABILENE, KANS., Jan 2nd 1888
MY DEAR SUSIE:
As usual a 7 has to [be] transformed to an 8. This is the season of such mistakes.
I have to say first, that I am very very sorry but I fear that box is lost. It is too bad but it hasn't yet put in its appearance, but I will not give up till another week when I will return to J. City hoping it will have come.
Well I agree with you that 1887 has been a generous year. Full of experience and pleasure at the same time. I began it in Haverhill by putting in two months of legal study under circumstances which are sufficiently well known to yourself already. Three months in the quiet of Snowville where one could almost hear himself dream. Then six months of legislative experience -- amid the thunder and smoke of railroad warfare. One month at the gay metropolis of Washington. One month of -- how shall I describe it -- wind and blizzards in what would otherwise be a lovely country.
This then is a most important epoch in my experience but you are to blame for the most important element in this experience -- - something which is to control not the experience of a single year but for all future. What a difference might the slightest circumstance have made.
You may realize with me how different things might have been. Follow me! -- To a fitting school with no intention of taking a regular course -- a series of events causes one to take one step after another till graduation -- no intention of a college course -- a letter from a friend suggests it after a year in business -- three days after said letter enroute for Hanover -- by mere chance finds one whom he likes as a chum -- four years at Dartmouth -- chum decides against all expectation to study law -- the two deliberate long upon the next year's course -- finally decide to study at homes -- toss up coppers to see which place first -- decide upon Haverhill.
I will not go farther I think you could supply some circumstances which determined subsequent events.
As I look back and think of all this it seems a little strange that this is thus. It would seem that some agency was directing everything for my good -- and our happiness. But I'm not at the end; what will the future do for us? How will 1888 use us?
I believe that depends much upon us. And why should we let it be otherwise than propitious?
I have set out on another week's trip. My plan is -- tomorrow to Enterprise- Wed. -- to Delphos (that is north in Ottawa County). Thursday to Meredith (Cloud County) and in that vicinity the remainder of the week if necessary. New Years I spent at J. City and such a night!!!
It was a real pandemonium. At twelve o'clock the fire bell rung -- guns -- pistols -- cannons and snapcrackers made the town ring -- no sleep till late in morning. It appears that the boys made a real 4th of July of New Years.
In the morning the street was full of every sort of conveyance imaginable. Threshing machines, mowing machines, plows, hay rigs, wagons, buggies -- everything in fact that lay about loose within a mile of town.
They were worse than college boys -- I would call them a cross between college boys and cowboys.
Last week I spent my time in Morris Co. mostly at Council Grove-glad to be in town all I could -- the wind was up and the thermometer down.
Examined the case of an old father who has been a minister -- married an English nobleman's daughter -- she was the idol of his heart -- the type of perfection -- the loveliest prettiest best educated etc., etc. He talked to me all the time I would listen -- when he got out of history he would give me advice Never marry for beauty but for personal worth, I did. Be careful young man, go slow. Take an old man's advice. I've been through it all.
The post -- master at that town came from Westmoreland. N. H. His head is a peculiar sight -- gray in streaks down one side of head. It is said that this turned gray in a single night. His little son of whom he thought his life was run over three years ago and killed. He is said to have run his hand up through his hair and it left its mark.
What a picture of a blizzard! Ha, ha, ha! Overtaken by a blizzard -- no, you are thinking of coyotes -- but they won't chase a man -- they love dead horses.
Lawyer has grit has he? We boys used to call it sand. All the same.
I have a fur cap and three overcoats -- the fourth one is planned for extra flannels.
I asked the conductor of Jay Gould's road to wait his train for me while I called on the post master at Parkersville the other day and he did so, isn't that exercising a good deal of authority though!
One of the men I was to call on had recently shot his man and been sent up for three years, so I could not see him.
Hope a happy new year has begun with you. Remember me to all who care to hear from me.
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., Jan. 8th, 1888
MY DEAR SUSIE:
I have the pleasure of beginning this letter by acknowledging the receipt of the box. It is just too bad that I let my anxiety loose to disturb you and make you think it was lost. It arrived in Junction City on Jan. 3d the next day after I left last week.
But I am fully -- yea bountifully repaid for my anxiety. It is just splendid -- lovely -- just like yourself -- there that hits it in three words.
And the wishes it brings to one; such wishes as have their source only in the truest sort of a heart. Love -- Life -- Health -- Joy -- Fortune -- What a sequence! The first is already mine and I trust her to the extent that I would wager the other four that she will be true to him. The second and the third are as yet mine and as sure as they remain to us the fourth shall be ours.
The fifth is very fickle. The least important of all! But we'll trust her and take such as she gives -- only we will use her for all she's worth
It has seemed like I was in New England today. The sleigh bells have been ringing all day. And it seems so strange for there is scarcely a half inch of snow. The first of the week there came a storm of sleet which froze to the ground and later a little snow and rain covering the ground with a half inch layer of snow and ice, fast to the ground as though it were a part of it and as there are few or no stones a sleigh goes nicely.
I will just describe the locality here to you. By the way I will send a map which will enable you better to see what a meandering course I take.
My room faces the east. So you see I can look in the direction my heart yearns to be. Just here at Junction City all railroads run north & south. The Union Pacific turns after it gets out of town going easterly and westerly. Another branch of the U. P. goes up the Republican River. The Missouri Pacific goes south.
As I look out of the window and a little to the north I see Fort Riley which is Uncle Sam's property and is supposed to be the geographical center of the U. S. So you see I'm located in the central part of Uncle's farm. There seems to be some doubt about this center business as I find each farmer claims the center is somewhere on his farm.
Well the fort is defended by about 400 soldiers. They are building preparatory to increasing the number to 1,000. The existence of this fort is the life of this city as this particular vicinity is a little too bluffy for farming. On all sides of Junction City at a distance of from 5 to 10 miles are bluffs so that this town sits in a valley and is said to he fire proof against cyclones. But I wouldn't want to be here when it was tested all the same.
It is Junction City because it is at the junction of the Republican and Solomon rivers.
On the map I will mark a double red line about the counties which I have to visit, I will put some fine red lines for some new- railroads. If you wish to follow where I have been you can read this page, if not skip it. First week north to Clay Center and out to Green, Springfield, Bala, Exeter & Idana. Second week west to Abilene, Enterprise, Salina, Gypsum City, Lincoln, Sylvan Grove, & Lucas. Third week west & north to Abilene, Solomon City. Minneapolis, Beloit, Cawker City, Downs, Gaylord & Clifford & Saltville. Fourth week south Council Grove, Dunlap, White City, Skiddy, Parkersville. Fifth week west & north to Abilene, Enterprise, Solomon City, Delphos, Meredith & Minneapolis. Have named simply the towns at which I stopped and in the order in which I visited them.
Tomorrow I intend to go to Mankato, Jewell Co., via Clay Center & Concordia, and during the week expect to stop at (if I have time) Corvallis, Smith Center, Lebanon, Burr Oak, Omio & Jewell.
The first part of book gives a ready index to the location of any town -- and you can tell something of the size and accommodations of the town. If I were to choose a town for a home now it would be Abilene, Dickinson Co.
It is a pretty, neat, little town -- nice people -- nice houses. etc.
With regard to the Civil Service an examination for the clerk- ships in Washington requires no study of law. For Special Pension Examiner one has to be familiar with Laws of Evidence, Competency of Witnesses, and Statute Pension Law. This knowledge can however be acquired in a short time, A familiarity with U. S. War history is also necessary.
Thanks for your frankness. I wish I could solve the question at once and be very definite. But I will only say now that our union is the one event of the future nearest my heart and shall not be delayed beyond what I believe our best good demands.
So you are keeping a diary are you. Another historian! Well so I have kept a sort of a diary -- a skeleton -- since I left Snowville. I suspect it will be interesting reading for my grandchildren.
No I was so wicked I didn't make any new resolutions. To tell the truth, Susie, I haven't stopped to think of myself long enough to think whether I was good, bad or indifferent. I'm going to let up a little now I've got through my first month, and shake hands with myself and get acquainted. I'm my best friend in Kansas and I think it a pity to be strangers.
Please remember me to all. Many thanks for the handkerchief box and contents and much love in return.
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., Jan. 15th, 1888
Your letter awaited me as usual upon my return to J. City. This has been a delightful week -- for polar bears but not for pension examiners. Monday night found me in Smith County at Smith Center. This town had just got its railroad -- i. e. only a few weeks since.
The coach which waited for us at the depot consisted of a boy with a lantern. Well I rode over to the Sherman House where I found the genial landlord after whom the house was named and who had run the hotel since the town started many years ago. I was told before I went that it was his characteristic fault to have a standard joke -- one joke does for several years. I was told what the present edition was and after a cordial good evening landlord and a response of how-de me boy I quietly sat down to wait for the perpetration of the joke. The landlord related some of the early experiences of the west and finally related some experience of his that very day closing with the remark that's pretty good for a man in his 80th year isn't it? Why, Colonel replied an unsuspecting traveling man (or one who wanted to humor the joke) you certainly don't look that old. Wall! wall I haven't always been carousing and fooling my life away like you fellows do. I've always been an industrious and sober man.
The joke was perpetrated and we were free from further restraint. This title Col. had a savor of Canada in this case.
Well I went west into the country, a drive of some 20 miles in the A. M., and another north some 15 m. in the P. M. In the last I took my first deposition in a sod house. The house was very neat, clean and cozy. These houses are built of turfs which are very thick. The sod is cut up into pieces of perhaps 18 in. by 36 in. and then the walls of the house are built of these as of bricks by laying one above another. The house is then plastered on the inside and the roof covered first with boards or brush and then with sod and finally with a kind of lime which they have here, which runs the water off and washes down the sides of the house making it white. I don't know though as you are interested in architecture. Some of these are built into the side of a bank so that if you are driving across the country you might drive right on top of the house before you saw it.
I came back from Smith Center to New Lebanon on the 5 o'clock A. M. train.
This little town presents an interesting phase of western growth.6 Eighty days ago there was not a building on the present site. Now there are 150 inhabitants doing a thriving little business. The old town of Lebanon was some four miles south west of N. L. I had occasion to go out by the old site and it looked as though a cyclone had swept across the country and taken all away except the cellars. The old town had all moved up to the new one. Each man took his little house right along with him and arranged them in line on either side of Main St. of the new metropolis. Did you ever read Metropolisville (by Edgerson I think)?7 That is a picture of the rise & fall of a western town. I read it many years ago. The hotel which I patronized was one which had been drawn up from the old town. Office 10 x 15, parlor 10 x 10, sleeping rooms up stairs partitioned with bed quilts. Grub, fish hash, tough beef stake.
Thursday morning I waked up to find a blizzard well underway. By a sharp run through the snow drifts I got to the train bound east to Mankato. It snowed the most of the A. M. I wanted to go out into the country in several directions from 8 to 20 miles and as I saw the sun come out and a prospect of a pleasant P. M. I went to the livery stable to engage a team and congratulated myself on the prospect of a good afternoon. While the team was getting ready I went to the P. 0. to make inquiries. I hadn't gone two blocks when the wind had changed from the south to the north and the air was so full of snow that I couldn't see a half block. This was in three minutes after sunshine. It remained like that all the afternoon and evening. The R. R.'s abandoned all trains except the engine and one coach and I couldn't get out of town till the next day when I came to Concordia and to Junction City Friday evening.
You may bet I keep close when the thermometer runs 20 below and a high wind.
What a veteran Bible reader you are getting to be. I haven't read much of anything since I've been scouting about Kansas. Went to church today at the Presbyterian. Twenty members were admitted -- mostly small boys. Four admitted by letter -- one from Ind., one from Pa., one from Iowa, one from J. City.
By your definition I'm not brave yet for I'm not yet a lawyer but I'm getting braver everyday. Brown and blue are your colors. I think I could tell much better how I like the change if I could see you a moment. However its some consolation that you've got over being blue. I expect to go west tomorrow as far as Abilene -- I may stop there a day and go north to Miltonvale, Cloud Co.
Then on west to Salina -- then northwest to Shady Bend, Tescott & Beverly. I doubt if I'm able to get back here by next Sabbath.
I must say this is a beautiful day. The thermometer at midday is 10 above zero -- no wind for a wonder. Your sympathetic nature would be thoroughly aroused if you were to see the cattle standing out this weather without the least shelter. That is the case with some farms, though most farmers now manage to get a shelter from the wind if it is nothing but a haystack.
Your nice letters are very interesting to me and are lots of consolation to my loneliness. It is very pleasant to come home at the close of the week and find a letter from you, one from home, and nearly every week one from one of my sisters.
Remember me to all as usual.
Very truly and sincerely
SALINA, KANS., Jan. 22nd, 1888
MY DEAR SUSIE:
I am for the first Sabbath away from headquarters. Came to Abilene Monday and went north in the night to Miltonvale where I stopped till Wed. morning. I found a hotel quite as good as an Eastern barn. Found my man in town, luckily, as a blizzard was on. Came back to Abilene and stopped there Wed. night. Wed. I had a very nice sleigh ride. The blizzard had ceased for the time being and it was very pleasant for a ride (of twenty five miles) north to Cheever & return. 
Listened to a farmer's dinner. Immensely entertained by a livery man who could talk faster than I could hark. Found a peculiar witness who when I asked him if the soldier was a sound healthy man said it made a difference whether he was to answer as a physician or as a comrade. As a physician he said yes as a comrade he didn't know.
In the evening Mr. Cowles and I beat Mrs. Cowles & Mr. -- Mr. -- what was his name? -- O! McPhaerton -- at a game of whist. Came to Salina Thursday morning and after an hour set out for Lincoln County (Beverly), was overtaken by a blizzard. My man had removed so I removed back to Salina by the next train. But was obliged to thus stop over night. But this hotel was worse than a barn -- Slept with my clothes & two overcoats on and tied myself to the bedpost to keep myself from blowing through the walls -- I make this statement as a commercial tourist.
Came back to Sauna Friday morning and have stopped here since, getting acquainted with this metropolis, it is a great R. R. Center and a very flourishing town.
Met a young man by the name of Jackson who was formerly an employee of the Pension Office. Have found him a very pleasant and entertaining friend. He just got a letter from his wife and another from his mother. Says his mother was his host girl till he married and now is his second best. He took me up to his room and showed me photos, of his parents, wife & others. He seems to be a great admirer of Mrs. Jackson and well he might if her photo, is a good one. He is a journalist.
Called on my classmate Brown who seems to enjoy his title of M. D. hugely.
Took the deposition of Col. Phillips an ex-congressman who is an intimate friend of our New Hampshire Bill (Chandler). He has a library worth several thousand and evidently has other property to match.9
Monday Jan. 23d, 1888
Went to church yesterday at the dedication of Methodist church. We raised $100 by the contribution box. My part was 10 cts.
Went to the Lutheran Church in the evening.
As I am away from J. City I shall not receive your letter till I return the middle of the week. Expect to ride into country today and tomorrow go south to Langley, Ellsworth County, returning here Wed. which day will complete my work in this vicinity.
I would like to be present at Haverhill for a good sleigh ride. We would review the Pine Woods if we could manage to find our way and the sleigh would hold together.
Of course I always wish to be remembered to all --
ABILENE, KANS., Monday, Jan. 30th, 1888
I wish you could be here and appreciate the summer weather. It has been very nice here for a whole week and today it is just like Summer -- no fires, and uncomfortable with one's winter clothing. The snow has all disappeared.
I believe I wrote you from Salina last. Monday last I got left by my train and so took livery to see another man, whom I saw. Tuesday I went south by rail to Lindsborg. This was a little town of Swedes; I think I must have been the only Angle among them. To express their language as it sounded I would say it was the most jagged chatter I ever attempted to listen to. I stopped there a couple hours and then went west on the Railroad which isn't laid down on your map. You can build some geography if you choose by running a railroad from Gypsum City through Lindsborg to Marquette. Well at Marquette I took livery to Langley a town of ambitious inhabitants. As yet they are all contained in a depot, a store, and two sod houses. I went north two miles and found my man whom I had chased from Orworth to Beverly and now to Langley. Thank fortune he had frozen his feet during the recent blizzard or I wouldn't have found him here.
On this ride I saw a peculiar sight. The people were out mining for fish. You see it had been so cold that the Smoky had frozen to the bottom. Of course the fish were made prisoners and the people had only to cut the ice open and help themselves.
You ask me -- or rather remark, I wonder what you are busy about this time 8 P. M., Jan. 24. if you could have seen me at that moment you would have seen me sitting down for a game of whist. Mrs. McCommick and I got beaten by Mr. McCommick & a traveling man.
Said McCommicks are the proprietors of the Merchant House. Their accommodations were limited so they put me into a room with another man who proved himself to be a veteran (not pensionable) snorer. 40 horse power was about his capacity. I got up and shook him once but it only rested him for a new effort.
Came to Salina Wed. To New Cambria & return in the P. M. Met my mail on the road and took his dep. in the carriage.
Wed. evening I took my friend Jackson to see Jules Verne's Around the World in 80 Days. It was very good considering the western conveniences for a play. It represents the hero attempting a circuit of Mrs. Grundy's waist for $50,000 wager which he wins after a combination of seemingly insurmountable obstacles.
Came to Abilene Thurs. and missed my train for Manchester. a town (not laid down on your map) which lies two or three miles east of Poplar Hill just north of Abilene 15 miles. It wasn't my miss but the bus man's miss.
Friday I went south to Carlton with a team. You should have seen some of the immense flocks of birds -- snow birds. They seemed like a cloud, they were so thick. After a drive of 15 m. I had to return without finding my man. Uncle Sam $10 poorer for no good. Went to J. City 12.10 A.M. Saturday and out into the country 15 miles to the dirtiest hovel I have yet visited. Hens & pigs in the kitchen.
Perhaps you have enough of this sort of descriptive geography.
I expect to take evidence today which will send a man to state's prison for forgery. It seems rough to do but we have to make an example of some of them.
Tomorrow I go to Beloit to demand $250. from a man who has succeeded in cheating Uncle Sam to that extent.
I expect to put in a week in the vicinity of Beloit.
Next week I expect to go out west to Cove & Logan Counties -- some 200 miles. Buffalo Park, Cove City, etc.
Have not yet been in Marion Co. but very likely shall have to go there yet.
Excuse my haste in closing -- I have some important mail which must go to the office.
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., Feb. 4th 88
MY DEAR SUSIE:
Another Sabbath finds me again at Junction as you see. One day of the week spent in Abilene & the remainder in Beloit.
I believe this week has not been marked by anything out of the ordinary experiences. I did expect to go to Colorado next: week but I concluded it was too far to warrant my going without a special order. I'm waiting for that. O no -- I don't mean waiting. There is no occasion for my waiting any where in Kansas for I have enough else to do while Uncle Sam is issuing his order.
There is an interesting little fight going on out in Western Kan. You turn to your map and note Sherman County. These western counties have not until recently been organized for the good and simple reason that there has been no one there but buffalos. Prairie Dogs & Rattle Snakes to organize them.
Near where Sherman Center is marked on the map is the present town of Goodland (it is probably a misnomer). This Goodland absorbed Sherman Center. You also see the little town of Eustis. Goodland & Eustis are about 11/2 miles apart.
Now the county seat in the west is sure to be a good town and there is much rivalry between towns here. The fight which I mentioned above is the fight between these two towns for the county seat.
It seems that what is marked as Sherman Center, now Goodland, is the oldest town and expected to be the county seat when an Eastern syndicate comes out and builds the town of Eustis and brings in so many people that they control the county vote and at the organization of the county get the seat. The people of Goodland arm themselves and charge on their opponents and secure the county papers or a part of them. Where upon the other town arms its citizens. Each town barricades itself and builds a breast work and they storm away. 
The Gov. has ordered the militia of the state to be in readiness to be called out at once.
A similar contest took place several years since in a southern county when quite a number were killed. 
I'm going to rove out through those counties later I've got to go to Cove City, Cove Co. very soon. I also have a case at Leoti, Wichita Co.
Your nice letter giving me a description of the three pretty maids from School is very interesting. So you have discovered that one who can discourse sweet music can be wicked still -- wicked enough to play cards on Sunday. Those girls were very bad -- were there three cards missing? Well well you should have exercised a better influence over your junior sister.
O! now. How about your blizzard. We haven't got any snow here -- O I wouldn't live in such a country. And earthquakes I understand you have been having -- Kansas doesn't have earthquakes.
The weather which we have had for the past week here would relieve you of some of the snow.
I expect to stay at Junction City for a day or two this week.
Let me tell you the secret of letter writing: when you have nothing to write write it.
I think I've succeeded admirably well in this letter under the rule.
Have been to church three times today. The minister said that if our feet were printing presses and every time we stepped we left our thoughts printed in the track many of us would prefer to stand still. It occurred to me that the amount of thought would usually be the inverse ratio to the number of squares inches covered by the printing press.
Perhaps I haven't hit upon the moral of the sermon.
Well I must bid you good night and happy dreams
Very truly Yours
1000 Miles from Washington, D. C. Feb. 12th, 1888
at JUNCTION CITY, KANS.
MY DEAR SUSIE:
Your very nice letter reached me in the usual good season.
This week I have remained at the place and vicinity going out only ten or fifteen miles to Whiskey Point & Dry Creek. Extremes. 12
Have been taking Irish testimony the most of the time and it would please you to listen to them talk. Let me call in to take Mr. McMurphy's test, and one question winds up the tongues of the whole family and it is somewhat difficult to keep in mind whose testimony I'm taking. They are only equaled by the Germans.
At Washington they evidently thought I had too much to do and have seen fit to slice off a part of my territory. They ordered me to send what work I had in Clay, Riley & Cloud Co.s to A. M. Spoveszer at Atchison. Isn't that a pretty name? They say he has to lie awake nights to remember his name. You see this relieves me of some large towns like Clay Center, Concordia. I don't like to be relieved of towns. I expect it will result later in giving me the Wild West, i.e. all of Kan. west of me. But now that it is getting warmer I don't care.
Monday 2 o'clock A. M. I expect to take trip west 200 miles to Cove City, Gove Co., then back to Salina and to Lincoln Center & back to S. again and then to Abilene -- then north to Poplar Hill. That is my programme for the week.
I am very happy to know that you are getting very strong and well! Now let me tell you that you will please me very, very, much by keeping so. I don't believe you can do it and teach. That's my opinion -- which owing to our friendly relations I will not charge you any thing for. I am not always that free with my advice.
I received a letter this week from my Uncle (a great one) at Hastings, Neb., inviting me to call on my neighbors (only 150 miles). I think I will run in some day.
My vacation. Well I will tell you what my plan has been, which is always subject to a change however. It is to come to N. H. about Nov. this year. Does that seem long? It does to me but then time moves very fast, after all. You see I want to vote for Cleveland next Fall. It will be more easily determined however later. Your wishes will, I think however, be the only force which I will allow to change that plan. Be good etcetera. I will have to close.
Very Truly Yours
Mumps, mumps -- is the cry on all sides. Several cases in the house. When will be my turn?
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., Feb 19th 1888
MY DEAR SUSIE:
I am in debt to you for a very nice letter. Nothing would please me better. Except you presence.
I should have been an interested listener, I know, if I could have been present at his (Junior's) sermon. You may give him my best wishes if you choose. Why: of course I have no objection to your riding with Jimmy or any other nice fellow -- and I'm confident you wouldn't ride with any other class.
This week has been an interesting one. I left here 2 o'clock Monday morning and went west to Cove City. I stopped at Ellis for breakfast. On the train was a little boy who had got lost off the train of the day before and all his friends had gone on. The passengers took pity on him and cared for him all the way. I stopped at Grainfield for dinner. At his place over the table in the dining hall was written on a banner.
We may live without books: what is knowledge but grieving.
We may live without hope; what is hope but deceiving,
We may live without love: what is love but pining
But where is the man that can live without dining?
If there was any place where I have stopped in Kansas and lived without dining that was the place. Who is the author of the first part? 
I took livery across the country to Cove City. This was a new town -- less than one year old. The buildings built of a stone which when it first is taken from the quarry can be whittled with a jackknife but which hardens as it is exposed. I returned to Grainfield in season for train back to Salina Monday night.
Does it not seem to you that one ought to be able to see a great distance on a perfectly level country? It did to me. But it is a good view when one can see off 10 miles to distinguish a -- no, I didn't mean a blot but a town. Five miles is about the usual distance one sees about him. I first saw the mirage on my ride to Cove City. It was a very warm day -- so warm that it would have been uncomfortable without a top to the buggy. As one looked off to the horizon it looked as if a train of cars had gone along and left a strip of smoke from east to west. And then it settled down and the motion of the air from the heat arising from the ground gave it the appearance of billowy waves -- so it seemed as though one could see ocean along the horizon. They say at times it will seem to project any object near the horizon up into the air so one can see a town -- too distant for them to see at other times.
I saw the first work oxen out there I've seen since I came to Kan. They were harnessed in horse-collars bottom side up and were driven with bits in the mouth like a horse.
Along the R. R. occasionally one will see a huge pile of bones. They are picked up from bygone generations of buffalo and cattle who have left themselves on the prairie. The bones are shipped east for fertilizers.
I worked at Salina Tuesday and at Lincoln Center Wednesday.
Again at Salina & Abilene Tuesday, and Friday I took a team and went north to Keystone and Vine Creek some 30 miles. I drove from Keystone to Vine Creek in the night and sad to relate got lost and had to hunt my way in the prairie for about two hours.14 When I got to Vine Creek all were abed. There are scarcely one half dozen houses and no real hotel. I found out where he lived and waked him up. Yes he said he could fix a place for me. So when I got my team fastened up and went to the (apology for a) hotel, lie quietly pointed out a pile of quilts in one corner of the room and told me I might sleep there.
Saturday there came on a drenching rain, rode 30 miles and took seven depositions. I came to J. C. two o'clock this morning. I wish you were here for a little while. But alas; you can not. I am not homesick but I would like to see you very much. Well I will have to say goodnight.
OSBORNE, KANS., Feb. 26th, 1888
MY DEAR SUSIE:
I am spending this Sabbath about 150 miles from home -- that is my western home. Tuesday I went to Logan, Phillips Co., where I took a man before the Medical Examining Board and submitted him to a rigid examination. The case has already been examined by seventeen special examiners. I am going to exhaust the evidence before I return the papers.
Thursday I took a thirty mile drive through the country. This part of the state is yet thinly settled and there are very few houses outside of the towns of any other material than sod. I took my dinner that day in one of these houses of sod architecture. The walls were in this case nearly four feet thick -- one story high. Across the top of the end walls was placed a huge log of cottonwood for a ridge pole. Over this was laid brush twined together thickly upon which was placed a layer of turf to run off the water. The walls on the inside were nicely plastered. They seemed like nice people and served me up a nice dinner of pork steak. The young ladies of whom there were two were talking about the leap year's ball. The idea of having a ball in a sod house of one room which room answered the purpose of parlor, sitting room, bed room and kitchen!
How would you like such a mansion? There are lots of farms that can be bought cheap. It takes only a few days to build a sod house.
Friday I went to Edmond, Norton Co -- took two depositions and came back to Marvin, Phillips Co., and by stage to Phillipsburg. By the kindness of Dr. Tailor, one of the examining surgeons, I went to Mr. Lowe's residence instead of the hotel. Mr. Lowe is an ex-county clerk and has a very pleasant home. I found it very pleasant. Saturday I came to Downs and took the deposition of Andrew Jackson and stopped at the Fremont House which is run by an old maid with stentorian voice -- and muscular tongue. This morning came to Osborne City where I find my mail which I ordered forwarded from J. C. Your letter is a part of this.
The depot at the next station, Alton, was robbed and burned last night. I go there I expect tomorrow. I have several cases on Kill Creek and one witness in the southern part of Rooks County. I then go back to Cawker City and Beloit and expect to be at Junction City another Sabbath.
Well I must say good night
Very Truly Yours
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., Mar 4th. 1888
MY DEAR SUSIE:
I am in receipt of a nice letter from you and also one from The wife of good Saint Valentine. The two bear the stamp of the same genius. Your description of the Chautauquan masquerade was exceedingly interesting. I regard that course a very instructive and interesting one, especially for ladies.
The wonderful description of Kansas which you enclose in your letter is quite in accordance with the reputation of Kansas among Kansans. It is doubtless true for I was told by a gentleman -- whose veracity ought not to be doubted -- that in certain sections of the state they could not raise pumpkins because the vines grew so rank that the pumpkins were worn out from dragging on the ground. Another gentleman told me that he had seen a single vine grow through a fence faster than a cow could eat it. It is a wonderful state. This however is not the season of the year for anything to grow except to grow cold. It is said one is never safe in Kansas without a fan an umbrella and an overcoat. I would also add a dugout and lightning rod.
We have had one warm day -- one thundershower -- one storm -- and one cold wave this week.
I wrote you last from Osborne I believe. Monday morning I took livery and went N. W. 7 miles then turned south through Bloomington to Kill Creek. It was quite a long half day's drive but I had a loquacious liveryman and I pumped him for stories of cyclones, etcetera, and kept myself warm trying to believe an occasional one. We put up for dinner at 3 o'clock on Kill Creek. The only man at home was a small boy who had been sick. He threw together something in the way of bread eggs & ham which refreshed me somewhat but the liveryman could not stand it. I am blessed with a cast iron appetite and have a capacity of shutting my eyes and accepting such as is offered. We journeyed in the P. M. to Laton, Rooks Co., where we arrived at 8 o'clock in the evening. There is no town there. But we found a place to stop at one Hermond Ham's. He was the witness I was after. Mrs. Ham was a sister to the claimant's wife. This gave rise to a joke or me which the liveryman enjoyed immensely. I didn't tell them what my business was at first but simply asked to be put up for the night. Upon conversation with them I suppose I showed such a familiarity with the past history of Mrs. Ham's folks that I excited their suspicion. My investigation of the case had given me the full history of the family. Now it so happened that the claimant's daughter had recently married and Mrs. Ham had never seen the young man. It just dawned upon her that I was the fellow. There now I know who you are. Ah yes, we are glad to see you. But why didn't you bring the old folks along? We would like to have seen them so much. Here I attempted to explain. O no its no use for you to attempt to fool me. You might just as well own up. Where do you live? Why didn't you bring her along?
All this time the liveryman was just shaking with laughter. This convinced her that she was right and had caught on to my little joke. It was only after quite a firm denial that I could satisfy her as to my identity.
I came back via Alton -- stopped at Cawker City -- Beloit -- Minneapolis -- Solomon City -- and then to Manhattan. Returned from there Friday.
On my way from the latter place I had the pleasure of the company of three murderers who had cut a young man's throat and slung him into the river, while out riding -- all for the small sum of $100.
Today I listened to a sermon in which the minister did not justify any one who did not make a practice of giving the tenth of his earnings to benevolent purposes. How few are justified.
Well, Susie, do you think that the first anniversary of that red letter day Mar. 2nd has come and gone? It doesn't seem as though it could have been one whole year does it? Time doesn't wait even for you and me.
2 o'clock A. M. Mar. 2nd 88 I was at Manhattan. Just got there from the train. I could not help thinking of the past year. What a peculiar year in my experience -- so much different than any previous year of my life. It has been nevertheless a pleasant, exciting, constantly changing year. I have however had more of an aim in life than before. This the anticipation of settling to some definite purpose -- of having a home has constituted a great part of my enjoyment. I wish we could have celebrated the anniversary by being together. However we must submit to circumstances.
Let me thank you again for you thoughtfulness in sending me that very pretty reminder of St. Valentine.
I hope this finds you nicely. You must try to be anyway.
Very Truly Yours
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., March 11th, 1888
MY DEAR SUSIE:
Your very nice letter of one week ago is right here. I really pity you people drifted about with snow. I am enjoying a beautiful day; as nice as N. H. affords during the months of May or June. But I must confess that this is the exceptional day thus far in March. Very cold till now this month. The proprietor tells me that when he came to Kansas eleven years ago today peach trees were in blossom. Nary a peach this month.
I have been to Council Grove, Dwight & Parkersville, Morris Co., and Russell, Russell Co., and Milford this Co. and Wakefield, Clay Co., this past week. I go to Beloit Monday and during the week go out to Osborne Co. but shall spend the most of the week at Beloit and vicinity.
What changes Haverhill is undergoing! People changing names and residences. If I stay away long enough I won't know where to find anybody or what to call them when I find them. I would enjoy the Musicale very much if I could annihilate space for the purpose but I never fly.
You did not tell me which side of the question you had. Now that it will be all over when you get this I might express my opinion upon the question. I consider the question as expressed so very broad and open to so many interpretations that it could be easily decided either way. The word better is too indefinite. The literature of the nineteenth century is better in one sense than that of any previous age from the fact that it is broader, and more abundant, satisfying a greater variety of wants. In another sense it is not better but poorer because of this same broadness -- being less grand and elegant.
If you compare the master works of the different ages with simply an eye to the depth of thought and beauty of style we are behind the past ages, if you compare the mass of literature, the abundance of trash of our own time makes the average worth of our literature less than that of any previous age. But I will not have the presumption to discuss this question to one who has given it more consideration and listened to a debate upon it.
With my understanding of the question I would answer it -- the negative.
No the farmers are not planting but they have been plowing warm days for a month and wheat fields are green. But the ground has been frozen for more than one week.
I wish you were here today. If you were I would not have stayed in the house as I have done all day -- we would have taken a beautiful drive. There are many about J. C. This town sits in a valley and the county more broken about than in most parts of the state.
I see many a young fellow and his girl go by today. Sunday is always the best day for the livery barns.
Well I must cease scribbling just now till some more convenient season.
Very Truly Yours
BELOIT, KANS., Sunday Mar. 18th, 1888
MY DEAR SUSIE:
I have not yet received my usual nice letter from you this week. You see am not at J. C. and my mail has not come to me yet.
I found it inconvenient to go to headquarters this week. I left there Monday and came here. Tuesday I took livery northwest to find a witness. But Mrs. Ritter said John has gone across the country to yonder stone house to a public sale. So I attended the sale. Now a sale partakes very much the nature of a circus. Some man had got tired of his Kansas life and decided to improve his condition by a change of base -- so he wants to sell out. He has his handbills printed setting out the numerous articles which he proposes to knock down to the highest bidder. For the want of something more substantial than a wire fence to post his hand bills on he is compelled to invent and posts his list of curiosities on a shingle and sticks it up at the cross roads. Well circus day comes. I was on hand early. From all directions the country folk were pouring in. Old men, young men, women & children came together to witness the sale, to gaze and gossip. Boys on horseback, pony back, mule back. Old men came in the chaises which had doubtless been brought from the East where they had done duty among more aristocratic surroundings. Men and boys gathered in knots or groups doubtless for purposes of gossip. My appearance upon the scene caused a slight ripple and I heard one lusty youngster in the nearest group remark, Well I reckon that fellow's got a mortgage on some of Tom's steers. After gazing upon the multitude for a bit I sallied up to one of the knots of humanity and enquired if John Ritter happened to be at the sale. I was greeted by a stout big-fisted youth -- Well I reckon John Ritter has sold out and gone west. If it's old John you want to see that's him. And he pointed to a long-haired archaism who stood with both hands well planted in his pockets, the center of an admiring group who were listening to the wise sayings of the old soldier. After a casual remark or two he was wound up to tell me his experiences from his childhood -- of all the narrow escapes he had had, the number of rebels he killed, the wounds received and disabilities he had contracted and how grateful Uncle Sam ought to be to him.
He seemed to feel hurt when I told him I was not looking up his case but simply wanted him as a witness for a comrade.
We went into the house for a chance to write but there was scarcely room to sit. All the women in the county had come in and brought their babies. I didn't stop to count but from the volume of their voices I would put it at 100. But I doubt if you enjoy these details. Wednesday I went west to Stockton, Rooks County. After one deposition I went N. W. to Ashrock Township and after about a 40 mile drive through the country reached Kirwin in the evening. Scoured the country to the north for a witness and came back to Downs on evening train. Friday went south to Delhi thence west to Cedron & back to Downs (a distance of about 60 miles) in season to take evening train to Beloit. Yesterday I went to Scottsville & back.
It is just like summer today and has been all week. It is uncomfortably warm in the sun with no overcoat on. I am sitting without any coat and no fire. The grass in most places is green. But there is a very strong wind and the atmosphere uncomfortably dusty.
I went to church here at the Presbyterian. A young man with a ministerial voice discoursed. People don't go to church as much here I believe as they do in New Hampshire.
Traveling men never go. Hotel proprietors don't know what churches are in town. The church is usually full of ladies and children.
The engineers on the railroads here are all threatening to strike. If they should I would have to take a trip across the country so I'm hoping they will come to terms.
I wish I could visit you or you me. I rather think the former would be the most pleasant to all concerned but I believe Kansas the pleasanter State just now. Well I will visit you I guess -- but not just now. I will let you know before I call.
I must close now and write my mother. I expect she would worry very much about me if she did not get a letter from me every week. Rather a big boy to be an object of care to his mother?
Please remember me to your Father, Mother, Sisters.
This is always to be understood if I fail to mention it.
Very Truly Yours
L. P. SNOW
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., Mar. 25th. 1888
MY DEAR SUSIE:
Owing to the great snow storm which has afflicted the East and detained my mail I am well entertained today. Two letters from you, two from home -- sisters, uncles, aunts & cousins. All represented more or less.
Your two letters are as full of meat as an egg -- excuse the expression but it applies. They were very entertaining. I would like to have looked in upon the snowed-in occupants of New Eng. Westerners chuckle in their sleeves and remark about the Great Eastern blizzard. Western daily papers came out with great type announcing great suffering and destruction in the East. Some have even gone so far as to propose subscriptions to the suffering Easterners.
The most of the towns in our part of New Hampshire -- so E. S. [Edwin Snow] writes -- failed to even meet and adjourn their town meetings Father had such duties in Eaton to perform. Horses could not move. He set out with an ox team for the town house but that had to be abandoned. But the squire was undaunted -- sent the men back with the ox team and set out across the country two miles. He got there and with five citizens close by the town house adjourned.
How much difference there must be in the complexion of N. H. and Kan. Kansas wheat fields look like a green velvet carpet and today the grass upon the common is looking quite nice and green. Farmers are sowing their oats. Wild geese are crying above me nearly every day I drive. The larks are stationed every few rods upon the fence posts and greet me with a sweet little note. Well, well I would not add to your home sickness.
One uncle Alvin F. Perkins, Brownfield, Me., was elected supervisor of schools. He says they waited till he went home and then elected him He didn't have a chance to resign as he says he would have done. He writes me and wants some practical suggestions about teaching school.
Truly I have not been weighed since I left N. H. I think I hold my own about. I am very well thank you. As to my appetite I can furnish certificates of some fifty hosts who will certify that they haven't made anything off of my patronage. I am not afflicted with colds or chills. I am some what nervous and rather fretful. I think that diagnoses my case.
I now ought to have the liberty to inquire for your avoirdupois. Did that yellow jaundice decrease the amount of attraction which mother earth has for you? Do you grow any?
Mother and little sister went to Portland, Me., one week ago about to have the little girl's teeth carpentered. They had a very pleasant trip and got hack before the snowstorm. They fear that they were exposed to the scarlet fever. I trust their fears are groundless. I was at a house where they were suffering from that malady the other day. I concluded I would take their word for it without stopping to take their evidence. Small pox and mad dogs are quite thoroughly scattered in Kansas. I suggest this as a topic for you to worry about.
I am getting better acquainted as time wears on -- principally with postmasters, bankers, county clerks, hotel keepers, etc. I have made one very pleasant acquaintance at Abilene. A Mr. & Mrs. Cowles board where I stop when there and I have come to like them very much. I did not like her at all when I first met her. But I think they are both very nice. They have been very kind to me. They always get up a game of whist when I go there and especially when I have to sit up to take the 12 o'clock train to Junction City they sit up and play at that time. Mr. Cowles and I usually play against Mr. Gulick & Mrs. Cowles, Mrs. Cowles is a peculiar lady. She ran on the Dem. ticket for reg. of deeds for Dickinson Co. last year and rode about the county as a politician but, as do all democrats in Kan., she got left. She is about your age & Mr. Cowles about twenty eight. He is a loan agent & insurance agent. She also works in the office with him.
I did not go to church today -- that is till this evening.
You must excuse me again for using this sort of stationary but do you know I have got so accustomed to this size that to write on a small sheet seems very strange.
Susie, you must not be homesick. It will never do. There is too much to think of to afford time for homesickness.
Yes, if I had been at home I presume I would have been voted for moderator -- high & dignified office. I have acted in that capacity for the two elections that I have been in my town since twenty one.
I would like to see my little girl tonight very much. It would be a great treat wouldn't it though. It is a very easy thing to sit and wish isn't it, but not so easy to satisfy our wishes. Well I will have to bid you good night and sleep myself. My eyelids are getting heavy from my late hours last evening. I got here at 2 o'clock this morning.
Good night dear
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., Apr. 2nd, 88
MY DEAR SUSIE:
This is a lovely Monday morning after a lovely Sabbath. Such beautiful days as we hay in N. H. the first of June. I have and wrote -- all day yesterday and some of today with my window up and no fire and with no coat on. People sought the shade yesterday for comfort. My heart goes out in sympathy toward the frozen granite hills. But I am in a state of anxiety about my home. It proves to be that the alleged scarlet fever was the small pox. The parties who came up on the train with mother and Bertha have died and all parties exposed are quarantined. Mother writes that she and Bertha have not been out of doors nor does any one come into the house except father. But when she wrote me last it had been fifteen days since they were exposed. So I have good reason to believe they did not take the small pox as fourteen days is the usual limit.
Mr. & Mrs. Cowles planned a game of whist as usual at Abilene Saturday evening to keep me company till my 12 o'clock train.
There is one characteristic which will strike you as peculiar I think. All the ladies chew gum in the West. I have seen some of the most nicely dressed ladies out riding and on the streets with their mouths full of gum. I watched the banker's wife at Abilene make out a postal note with five cents worth in her mouth -- I was at the time taking advantage of the P. M.'s easy chair.
Vanity Fair. Let's see, that is by Thackeray? If so that's my favorite. Blackstone is my favorite author now. I'm doing him very slowly. I really am not well read in Thackeray's works. I will get my knowledge of him and his works by communion with you -- as I will also many other instructive lessons. I expect I'm getting to be a harsh and unrefined barbarian. I need some milder and refined associations -- I have lots of rugged corners in my disposition.
Susie you should have gone to the ball if you cared to. You must not deprive your self of any pleasures like that. They are your right. Certainly I would have been most delighted to have come under your protectorate and revived some of my experiences of one year ago and above. But we could not.
I attended church yesterday. Flowers were in abundance. Everybody seemed to so happy. All the churches in the towns have splendid singing -- usually accompanied by organ, cornet and tenor horn. I haven't planned just what I will do this week, but I will have to close and do so now.
Very Truly Yours
TESCOTT, KANS., Apr. 10th, 1888
MY DEAR SUSIE:
Owing to an accumulation of things necessary to be done I did not write any of my usual letters before starting from Junction City yesterday morning.
Your very nice letter greeted me as usual at headquarters on my return from my trip to Council Grove, Morris Co. By the way this is an historic little town, id est Council Grove. Council comes from the fact that the Indians for many years used the shade of the rather extensively wooded ravines for the assembling of their chiefs or old men in council. Here the plans to slay, butcher and pillage were made. Here the scalps were returned as evidence of prowess. Even after the whites settled that part of the country, the U. S. Gov., made a reservation of the country south of the town and built stone houses to protect the poor Indians of a cold winter. These houses still stand and are to some extent occupied by the farmers. The reservation has long since been opened to settlement and the poor Indians gone west and south. 
I took a deposition in one of these houses. They are very comfortable and consist of one story and one room.
When at Council Grove I stop at the Cottage House. There I have made quite a number of friends. Mr. & Mrs. Gale run the house and Mr. Marks helps officiate. Mr. Root is the comical genius. He came to Kansas with $0.00 and has now quite a little laid up and holds the position of asst. cashier in a bank. You can't look at him without laughing. He is one of those long lean men who can set a whole audience agrinning by a look. He laughs heartily and eats loudly. He always carries a cheery countenance and a good supply of jokes, puns and witticisms though he never drinks, swears, plays cards, dances, and I may add, never does anything else that would cost him a cent. He talks of getting married but hasn't yet courted the favor of the future Mrs. Root.
Mr. Marks and 1 drove all about the country. In fact, not knowing where our man was we drove some 15 miles to get there. But such a pretty drive. We came through the Aldevista -- a beautifully wooded ravine.
I came to Tescott yesterday P. M. Last evening, my eyes being bothered by the lights so I could not work, I thought I would go hear the famous Blind Robert who was to lecture, etc., at the school house. By the way Tescott is a little town of very humble pretentions. So it was much like going into a New Hampshire back woods school house entertainment. He talked about 10 minutes of the Paleozoic and Carboniferous periods of the world's life in a sort of guttural tone which no one could understand. Then proposed to present a prize to the ugliest man present -- to be determined by the vote of the ladies. As my name was not known I escaped. The prize was a pair of baby's socks. Next came the prize of the laziest man. It cost five cents to vote this time. I paid a nickel for another man to vote and we elected our man. He received a pair of slippers. But then succeeded the tug of war. The prettiest girl was to be determined by ballot of the young men at 10 cts. a vote. Now if they had stood the beauties up in a row where I could have seen them I might have felt like voting but I looked about but could see nothing pretty to the extent of 10 cts. worth. So I told a small boy if he would tell me whom he liked best I would vote for her. I deposited my ballot and came away satisfied that I had just saved missing a great deal in attending the lecture of the famous Blind Robert.
My people at home are no longer liable to have the small pox from the exposure I mentioned in my last. Kingman Co. cyclone -- I hadn't heard of it -- doubtless a fiction of the east. 
Deacon Snow. That must have been me or my grandfather probably the latter. At any rate he was the best man that ever lived. The Mr. Perkins was a great uncle of mine and died two years ago.
Yes the immortal Daniel [Webster] taught at Fryeburg -- which by the way is a beautiful town. Yes I have some things in common with Dan. We have in fact taught in the same institution. I once taught a primary arithmetic class in the [ms. illegible] during the absence of the assistant. I have also been in Daniel's old home at Franklin, N. H., where Miss Mack runs the orphan asylum. I have also seen Daniel's big plough. There may be some other trait that we have in common but if so it doesn't occur to me now.
I am rather hesitating whether to send this hurriedly written and illogical sheet to you in return for your nice letter but perhaps it will be better than nothing to decipher.
I am as ever very truly yours my dear.' believe me,
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., Apr. 15, 88
My DEAR SUSIE:
I am as usual -- well -- and at J. C. There has been nothing particularly exciting during the past seven days -- though variety is one of the ingredients of my present existence. The minister said today The experience of your life is constant activity. I don't suppose he was alluding to me in particular but it hits -- as perhaps many other expressions not quite as complimentary would.
Well at Tescott my host was a newly married man and what of pet names and other kind words were wanting were too few to be missed. That sentence is not a quotation if it does sound a little mythical. But I amused myself (when I wasn't otherwise busy) watching the smiles and other outward expressions of the bliss and confidence which vibrated between the Snooks for that was the name.
I then handled the claim of Squire Apple. He was as well a square sort of a man. I delight to examine a real worthy claim. We had to drive quite a good deal through the country for witnesses and we stopped for dinner one day with one of the numerous Smith family. It was an ideal hour. Everything was neat and all were happy in a little house 15 feet square. You could almost see your face in the floor, it was scrubbed so clean -- although in a land of mud. I came to Abilene Thursday and went to Manchester, the new town on the new R. R. -- a junction of two branches of the Santa Fe. One year ago no houses were to be seen on the present site. There are one hundred now scattered over a territory sufficiently wide to accommodate a city of moderate size. The grass still grows in the streets and everything has a sort of new and fresh aspect. They are always glad to see a stranger for it adds for the time being another atom of activity. They always try to persuade him to buy a few town lots and never forget to tell what a smart town they have and what a city it's going to make by and by.
I go to Salina next week.
You have heard a great deal of L. P. Snow the special examiner. Do., the private citizen and admirer of your own sweet self. But did you ever wonder how L. P. S. the embryo lawyer was progressing.
He still survives. Though I think his growth is a little slow at times. He however recently again began his development a little.
I have been studying for about one month. My Blackstone is my subject at present and liable to be for some time to come.
I registered with Judge Mahan (Abilene) some time since and have bean progressing to the extent of one months work at the rate of 100 pages a week.17 This is rather slow but when it is remembered that Chum (that dear boy) and I used to accomplish only about 50 pages per diem or 300 pages per week when constantly occupied it will not seem so very bad.
I recited on my first 195 pages last night, that consuming all of the Judge's spare time. I was prepared on nearly 400. Well enough of that.
It is like mid June today. Stoves all taken down put away for another winter. The trees are all budding and leafing -- Kansas is becoming more and more verdant. Life everywhere, to quote again from the minister, Think of the infinite, quiet, peaceful power that lies behind nature.
I enclose two dainty violets which have grown this year upon the wild prairie. They probably will have lost their fragrance ere they reach you.
Your very nice letter is a very welcome messenger.
My folks are all very nicely now and past of course the possibility of having the small pox from the exposure which I mentioned to you. In the adjoining town of Brownfield (Me) there are several cases still. I am thoroughly protected against the disease as far as vaccination can protect me.
I will have to scratch out last marks for this epistle in the form of a
Goodbye for the present
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., Apr. 22, 88
MY DEAR ELSIE:
How does that seem -- I believe I rather like it. How do you? That is an immensely pretty name and as you by intent or mishap signed your name Susie Elsie I make bold to use it. I would not be understood as casting any reflections on the remainder of the name but that part seems to touch a peculiar chord at this particular moment.
Well another of those seven day periods of our lives has rolled into eternity and we are no nearer together than we were a week ago, are we? It would be supreme bliss to take you today to a walk in the grove and to sit and bask in this beautiful summer air. It is just lovely -- that expresses it imperfectly. You can sit in the wind here and not suffer exposure as the atmosphere is so dry and warm.
I spent the most of last week at Culver a little north of Salina where I investigated a somewhat complex claim. But of all the ignorance -- I actually found a woman that could not tell her own age nor that of any of her children or family nor when her husband died nor when she got married the second time. The only thing she could seem to remember distinctly was that she got married soon after her husband died.
The train is just passing west. This is the Union Pacific and goes through here from St. Louis to California and every passenger train is loaded down with about ten coaches crowded full -- the great stream of human life going west a la Horace Greeley.
Saturday I went down the Saline River from Salina to see a man and found after getting the requisite distance from town that my man lived on the other side of the river and we had to go clear back to town to get across the river unless we could invent some way to get over.
We (the livery man and I) searched the bank among the bull rushes, weeds & vines, and at last found an old mud scow and we had a delicious boat ride, the first I have had since on the smiling spirit or rather smile of the great spirit. But alas our ride was not as agreeable as those of a year ago. We had to wade in the mud to get on board and to shore and make our way by means of some rude sticks which bore the names of oars. The water was so muddy you could not see a inch into it. The banks so high you could not see out and the river so crooked you could not see either way to any great extent. But we got thar and that was all we wanted.
So old Hulda has succumbed to the inevitable and taken her last voyage to the land of departed horse spirits. Some how that doesn't sound as elegant and pathetic as I thought it would.
You should have a glance at the Kansas verdure now. The fields of wheat wave with the wind. The grass and grains are all well under way. The trees are now nearly all leafed out and afford a shade which is rather acceptable at times. The small fruit trees are in blossom.
Well Susie, my dear girl, I am very glad you concluded not to teach this spring. I will always remember you did this to please me and you shall not regret it.
My work still continues abundant and pleasant. I expect to go to Council Grove again the next week. I have a special case there that demands immediate attention.
I will think of the wild Indians and bloody deeds this time.
Well I will be obliged to draw my somewhat lengthy remarks to a point. My best wishes to all and love to you
Very Truly Yours
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., Apr 29th, 88
MY DEAR SUSIE:
Again the clouds hang over the country and everything wears a gloomy aspect. But all things are green and promising of sunshine later.
Nothing particularly new or exciting. I can not say that I saw anything in Council Grove that looked particularly bloody and warlike.
I had the claim of a widow from New H. her husband was from Westmoreland, Chester Co. and she too was from that vicinity. Her name was Dunbar but learned not related to our acquaintances by that name.
A widow up in Ottawa Co. told me if she didn't get her pension I'd better not show myself up in that neighborhood again. She looked very cross.
Another lady refused to testify to me in a pension claim. I reminded her that we all owed a duty to Uncle Sam and that if she could not willingly testify I would be obliged to have her arrested and fined for contempt. She concluded to testify. Her son was present and tried to keep her from answering but was finally convinced that it was none of his business. They had been having trouble with the claimant in the pension case and didn't want to assist her. I submitted her to a doubly rigid cross-examination for her behavior. Wasn't that right I rather think it (the deposition) will be interesting to those boys in the office at Washington as I took her answers exactly as she replied -- and they were full of bitterness, anger and malice bordering on profanity.
Who is Miss Stoddard? And will she be Missed much longer.
That attempt at wit reminds me of a little conversation that I was just reading
Small boy to father:
Say pop they ain't goin to have lamp posts any longer.
Father. Why not my son?
Small boy. Cause they are long'nuf now.
Whiz, whiz, whack.
Do you have any larks in N. H.? (I refer to the bird) I do not recollect having seen any. They are very plenty here and beautiful singers. There are also large flocks of black birds and also snow birds. So that we are well supplied with music.
Father writes me Apr. 22nd that there are two feet of snow in Eaton.
Next week I expect to go to Clyde then west to Glen Elder arid back to Glasco and thence to Abilene. I was at Abilene yesterday and last evening I went to a drama. Haverhill local talent could beat it.
Blackstone contains almost 2000 pages. Quite a stint isn't it? Mr. Mahan is a very majestic man, rather stern and is counted a very fine lawyer.
I see you quite a defined conception of law questions. You will doubtless sometime (that sounds indefinite doesn't it, but tis now what it sounds) have an opportunity to hear more law and perhaps hear more legal slang than will really be entertaining. Of that later. Well my dear, be good to my Elsie. Don't let her be gloomy and sad and she will be grateful to you by and by.
Very Truly Yours
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., May 6th. 1888
MY DEAR ELSIE:
Please don't think I am tired of the name Susie. Of two stars one may be a bit the brighter you know.
Well yes another month gone and I don't know as I am any wiser than thirty days ago, yet perhaps worn a little brighter by the friction of my meetings and movings. I move often and meet many. I moved through the town us of Clyde, Concordia, Jewell, Concordia, Miltonvale, Concordia, Glen Elder, Beloit, Glasco, Abilene this last week stopping in several towns.
At Clyde I interviewed an old German to whom I had to talk four stories high and then not make myself definitely understood. At Jewell I met a minister who preached me a sermon about his own experiences -- which had nothing to do with the case.
At Concordia I rested from the fatigue of the sermon, At Miltonvale I witnessed a prairie fire endangering the town. All hands (except my two) fought fire. The ice-house was all that burned. The ice luckily didn't catch on fire and they managed to save it though the building & straw were burned to the ice itself. At Concordia I went to the station to take train at 6 o'clock A. M. and waited momentarily expecting the train till 4 P. M. We passed the time in a political discussion in which I of course assumed the defense of the administration.
At Glasco I posed in front of a new hotel (being the only guest) while they took a photo. I suppose to send back east to fool people with and show how the town is crowded with visitors.
At Abilene Mr. Gilbert of the 1st Nat. Bank invited me to tea with him. He boards (being a great friend of) with Mr. Cowles. Not the Cowles of whom I have spoken but a brother of his. Mr. Cowles has one of the finest residences in Abilene and is very wealthy. He is the representative of the Traveler's Ins. Co. Mrs. Cowles is a splendid musician. We all spent the after -- tea at a very pleasant game of croquet.
It is very kind of you to remember me with the mayflower bud and the patterns.
No indeed! I am frank to admit that the realization will eclipse the anticipation of my way of thinking, if not so it always be best to anticipate. That isn't my plan.
They ride horse back lots here but I have not found it convenient to do so and take along my papers.
Geo.'s expression that it is over between us would be capable of two interpretations one of which I would not admit to be true. Over means settled I suppose. I think it is settled that we are to he o-n-e. It is possible he labors under the impression that these are not the terms of the treaty. He shall see. All is well that ends well -- yet wouldn't it be better if it never was to really end. But of course we can't expect any special dispensation of providence in our behalf.
Life is sweet but I am inclined to think two lives in one could be -- and will be sweeter, eh?
I have two lines to say
I am very truly yours.
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., May 13th, 1888
MY DEAR ELSIE:
I am in receipt of a great long letter and very nice too. It is very full. I am inclined to agree with your mother. That was too long a ride for you. You mustn't. I am inclined to think you must have suffered a penalty for such exertions.
I took a horseback ride of only three miles the other day, and I couldn't walk straight for the whole next clay.
I stopped in Junction till Friday. I had a claim of a lunatic. Had to have a guardian appointed.
He had a record for having been sick in the service. His disease there was nostalgia. I had a case yesterday for examination where a man had a record of hypercorditis. I shall get to be quite a walking dictionary if I would remember all the medical terms I encounter.
I expect to go to see one of the colored brethren this week at Dunlap a little south of Council Grove.
I understand that he is insane so I will have another guardian to appoint.
Then I expect to take quite- a long ride west from Council Grove to Barton Co. I have one case at a little p. o. called State Centre.
Whole fields of wheat are headed out and our man has been cutting his hay. Here is a head of rye.
I recited on 150 pages of Blackstone Saturday night and expect to get around for as much more this week.
A clear beautiful sky this week seems to be the promise.
Do you think you would be afraid of cyclones? I met alt M. D. & wife who came from Virginia. They are about 40 years apiece. But she is terribly homesick. Cyclones was her principal topic of conversation. I never think of such a thing unless some one speaks of it. I dreamed of witnessing one last night.
This is Monday morning and as I take train at 10, and have a quantity of business to transact, will say good morning.
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., May 20th, 88
MY DEAR SUSIE ELSIE:
The wandering Jew is once more at Junction City. This week's ramblings have been full of variety as usual. I went north to Alida 7 miles Monday. Alida is one of those towns which was nipped in its infancy. It was picked while it was green and before it got its growth. It consists of a store and one house.
Tuesday I went west to Wilson (Ellsworth Co.), and Wednesday took a drive S. W. for a witness. I expected to drive only about 18 miles but when the 18 mi. was past then I discovered my man was a Methodist circuit preacher and had moved west some thirty miles.
Well then if there is a time in human events when a man is liable to be irritated it is when he gets to chasing a Methodist minister around his circuit. I have had one trial before.
When I found him -- yes I did -- he was a queer specimen for a minister. Unshaven, bare foot, ragged and dirty. He had nine children any one of whom could walk under my arm. They all lived in a mud dug-out. He preaches three times per Sunday.
On this trip I went past a coal mine and I thought it a nice opportunity while the horses were breathing to take a view of coal mining. To all appearances the mine was a very tame affair for all one could see was a hole which looked as though it might have been dug by a huge wood-chuck. It was about 2 1/2 ft. in diameter. I doffed my toga and borrowing a lamp of a miner began to reconnoiter. I crawled on hands and knees several hundred feet and after a seemingly endless journey found myself at the end of the path. The way was about 18 in. deep at the end and the miners lay on their sides pecking at the coal. It seemed to me a very uncomfortable way to work but they did not seem to mind it at all. The air was rather oppressive but I suppose they were accustomed to that. I found my way out again a wiser and dirtier being.
This day's drive was the longest I ever took. We started at about 7:30 A. M. and rode 74 miles by section line, returning to Wilson about 11 P.M. It was an interesting drive. The people who immigrate are a little clanish and settle in communities or neighborhoods. We went through various groups on the drive. First we went through a Bohemian neighborhood. Here the women were out cleaning the rye out from the wheat. The men were ploughing and planting with oxen -- three abreast and driven with bits in their mouths.
Next we came to an Irish neighborhood. Here the women were out herding the pigs. Next came the Germans with which Kansas is well supplied. I stopped to inquire at one old German's but he and I couldn't understand each other very well. He could not talk Eng. at all. I made him understand part of my inquiry but not all. So he called out his daughter who could talk English. She could also talk Bohemian. She told us that she learned to talk that because she had lover who was a Bohemian.
There are also communities made up almost entirely of Danes, of Swedes or of negroes.
Thursday I was at Brookville, Saline Co. Where I saw rather a novel fight between a huge dog and a badger in which the dog got licked. A badger looks very much like a wood chuck only much larger.
At Salina I had several drives and Saturday had a very kind invitation as guest of the Travelers Protective Association. I will enclose the banner [badge]. They were assembled from all parts of Kan. and had a very gay time. The city of Salina entertained them graciously.
I was given a banner, and asked if I had a sister or sweetheart to wear another. I had to answer not here. They were exceedingly kind and offered to supply the deficiency if I would stop to the banquet but I was not inclined to accept their proffered kindness. So I skipped the banquet and came to Abilene and recited in Blackstone instead. Wasn't that better?
Well I can't say really how many claims of those whom I have examined have been admitted. Those bills or pension claims which Congress passes are exceptions. There is a regular Bureau for granting pensions of which I am a part (small part) called the Pension Bureau.
No it would be no use to undertake to send May flowers clear across the Alleghenies & the Mississippi Valley. They would be wilted stems when they got here.
Going to Boston! Well I certainly wish you a very pleasant trip. I wish I had a few of those R. R. passes to send you.
Well I will have to close and say a good night
Very Truly Yours
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., May 27, 1888
My DEAR ELSIE:
Another 1/52 of a year rolled into eternity and I am very little wiser. I circuited this past week through the southern part of the district.
At Dunlap I had a case different than I had before handled. It was the case of a negro slave who deserted in the time of the war -- that is deserted from his master and joined the Union Army and got killed. His widow who was also a slave claims pension. They were married by another slave so she says. It was very interesting to hear her tell of the slave times. She had no conception of time. A year was a crop with her. She did not know what years the war was but dated everything from Lee's surrender, capture of Port Hudson, et cetera.
At Carlton I stirred up a neighborhood quarrel. Two neighbors hadn't spoken together for 8 years. One claimed a pension and I went to the other for information without knowing of their estrangement. And I got it. He declared his neighbor had received the injury since the war by a fall from his horse. The claimant said he fell off but it didn't hurt him much. So I had to consult the whole neighborhood.
The little town of Carlton has lived only two years and had got to be quite a flourishing little city till the hard times came when the people all failed up and many have left leaving behind a deserted city. I came to Abilene Friday where Friday evening I attended the graduation of the High School. Their exercises were very nice. I think they beat the east. One of the boys had the same subject that I had at my Academical graduation --Ambition -- seven years ago.
Saturday I witnessed my first tornado. The clouds came up very black. The wind came on. Loose papers, barrels and boxes came tumbling about the streets. The wind blew so one felt like holding on to something to anchor himself. I was in a large brick building. It rocked perceptibly and the water in the bowls was set in motion from the motion of the house. Only one building of importance was unroofed at Abilene, but north further it seemed that the tornado had more the appearance of a cyclone, for one home was torn to pieces and two or three persons badly injured at Vine Creek, Ottawa Co.
At Manchester 17 miles n. of Abilene the bank building was blown over.
In Clay Co. it turned into a hail storm. Stripped the trees of their leaves and destroyed some wheat and it is said even took the bark off some of the trees. It left the hail piled up in some places several inches deep. ..
Well I will have to complete this at once so Goodbye.
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., June 3rd, 1888
I am again in my sanctum of sancta with thoughts directed hack to N. H. I came near saying quill in hand and that reminds me of an expression made by the orator on Memorial Day here. He, in the midst of a pathetic strain spoke of a pen; to wit a quill made from a feather plucked from an angel's wing. It was ludicrous to me. He plucked it solemnly. Yes I attended Memorial services. The speaking was not extra. But they had the advantage of quite an imposing military parade. Ft. Riley is only 3 miles distant and the cavalry came over and marched with the old veterans.
So I presume you rode Maggie to N. H.18 I have no doubt you enjoyed the day. I had a nice ride that day. I actually took a deposition on horseback, and on my return I fell in with three young men who were out riding about town. And we raced horses about town a la cow boys, for about an hour.
Everybody rides here. Kids who don't look big enough to be safely out of their mother's arms. I have actually seen little girls and boys out herding cattle on horseback with nothing but halters on the horses -- the little ones so small that I verily believe they could not have reached the stirrup had they stood on the ground.
Two days this week I drove each day over fifty miles or about. And great sport I had. The country is all aroused where I happened to go because of the discovery of a mammoth gang of thieves -- a sort of Ku-Klux-Klan. The day before I went into the country the sheriff had been and arrested several. It was expected he would return for more. I was taken for the sheriff and each man on whom I called expected that he was about to have a summons to court. It was amusing to notice the anxious expression they wore when I would drive up, and the smile of relief that would succeed it when I made my business known. I saw several skipping through the woods to get out of my way. I felt very powerful to make people so scared of me.
Saturday I went to Abilene and recited. In the evening I accepted an invitation to tea with Judge Mahan. They -- that is -- Mr. and Mrs. have had a rather interesting experience as I learned from others. They came west very poor. He was not prepared for the practice of the law. He went to hammering on stone and Mrs. took in washings to earn their living. Now they are very wealthy and Mrs. is one of the first ladies in the town and Mr. Mahan the leading lawyer in the county.
The people at Snowville are all as well as is their usual wont. I receive a letter from Mother as regular as the Sabbath comes. Father never writes anything but business letters and mother is very different about writing and writes only to her children and always affixes the postscript burn this letter.
Your nice letter at hand and well noted. . . . Excuse me I just had to stop and see a dog-fight. It occurred under my window. It is all over now and both dogs live.
Well -- tomorrow I go to Minneapolis. Where next, I don't know. I did think to go to St. Louis to the National Convention but I gave it up. I can't go another sheet because it is bed time -- so I will have to bite this short off here
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., June 11, 88
SUSIE ELSIE CURRIER
MY DEAR LITTLE GIRL:
Another Monday morning has come along and I will soon pack up my cases and set out for another week's tramp -- this time to Clay Center, Beloit & Glasco.
I put in a busy week the last week at Minneapolis, Bennington, Sol. City, and Abilene when I closed my week's work by reciting to Mahan in the evening. He gets intensely interested in Blackstone himself and we have some very interesting talks. After we completed our -- tete-a-tete (is that right?) he treated me to a delicious repast of strawberries.
I told a lie this last week. I always attend church at the Presbyterian Church where they have a choir of young ladies. By constant attendance there I presume my face may have become familiar. But, I had met no ladies in Junction City. It happened that these ladies of the choir were attending the Sabbath School Convention at Abilene and stopped at the same hotel where I usually stop. They asked for an introduction -- strange to say. I of course could not refuse. But in the conversation which followed a young man remarked that he supposed that I was single. I replied that I was not. Wasn't that the best way out of the dilemma? That wasn't a real bad lie and I don't feel one bit condemned for it. In fact I consider myself tied -- double -- not single. I took a sick man's testimony this week whose only attendant was his deaf and dumb sister. She could not make out what I was going to do to her brother and seemed all overcome with fear till he managed to explain. I had Mr. John Jones' pension claim at Abilene. Don't you think I had to inquire for several hours before I could find anyone who knew anybody by the name of Jones. The family is not well represented. I fear it is becoming extinct.
I had formed quite a friendship with Dr. & Mrs. Richardson of Abilene who had lately came from Virginia. She has got so very homesick that they are about to return to Washington D. C.
I am wondering if my little girl would not get homesick out here among the winds, dust and cyclones.
We had some hail fall Friday larger than robbins' eggs.
Your very nice letter is here and well read. Your poor scholar is anxiously awaiting the rigid course which you have planned for him. You will find an obedient pupil. He prefers to be ruled however by love rather than by the rod.
Well my dear girl be very good to my teacher. Don't let her tire herself too much by riding -- though I consider that as splendid exercise if not carried to excess.
JUNCTION CITY, KANS., June 18, 88
Kansas is a part of the torrid zone this week. It is quite too hot to move about. It takes lots of lightning to burn up the heat. We have had several terrific thunder showers as a consequence.
Wednesday we had a hail storm at Glasco. I was not present when it hailed but I saw the effects of it. It utterly demolished some pieces of corn and drove the stocks into the ground. But I was told that that was nothing as only a few weeks ago it peeled the bark off the trees in Clay Co. and the hail stones were as large as hen's eggs. The largest hail stones I have yet seen are only the size of a robin's egg.
I have a very complex and interesting case this week of an old soldier who lives back east in Ohio. He has been totally blind ever since 1866. He has been trying for a pension ever since. His testimony was very conflicting and the case otherwise complicated but we have succeeded in clearing it up and the old gentleman will now probably get about $14,000 back pension. It will be a great boon to him as he has had to earn his bread thus far by selling peanuts on the street corner where I am informed he still sits day after day.
I am going up to Jewell Co. where I expect to stop two weeks or three possibly before returning.
It, this letter, was brought to an abrupt close upon the arrival of the train and I begin it again at my destination in Jewell Co. The house is the inn I was snowed in last Jany. A remarkable change is to be remarked in the complexion of the country and the state of the atmosphere. General discourse upon this subject -- the weather has however been superseded by political discussion. I hear two violent discussions going on at the moment.
Your very nice letter was duly received.
I had a fine invitation for today which I did not improve. It was to attend a mammoth Sabbath School picnic at Junction City -- holden by the Presbyterian people where I usually attend church.
I have no doubt they will have a pleasant time. This is a hotel pen and is terribly poor.
However I must close anyway so a good big
Good By etc.
P.S. My P. O. is still Junction City.
(The Concluding Installment, Containing the Letters of Leslie and Susan Snow, 1888, 1889, Will Appear in the Winter, 1963, Issue.)
Mrs. Lela Barnes, member of the staff of the Kansas Historical Society from 1931 to 1962, and the Society's treasurer, 1940-1962, is now in semiretirement, enjoying the opportunity to finish some projects she was unable to complete during her busy office tenure.
1. In the Annual Reports of the Commissioner of Pensions for 1887, 1888, it is stated 17,481 persons in Kansas were awarded pension payments in an amount totaling more than $500,000 for the quarter ending in June, 1887; in the corresponding quarter of 1888, the number of pensioners had increased to 18,743, with payments rising more than 548,000 above the figure for 1887.
2. Construction of the Corcoran Gallery of Art was begun in 1859 by William Wilson Corcoran. It was not completed until 1872 having been occupied by the quartermaster general's office during the Civil War. Corcoran's own collection formed the nucleus of the gallery collection. The building, at Pennsylvania Ave. and 17th St., was purchased by the government by an act of March 3, 1901, and is now occupied by the U. S. court of claims. The new gallery, on 17th St., between E St. and New York Ave., was opened in 1897. -- Dictionary of American Biography (New York, Charles Scribner's Son,, 1930), v. 4, p. 440.
3. John A. Logan, The Great Conspiracy: lts Origin and History (1886).
4. Previous to 1885, all street cars in Kansas City were operated with horses or mules. The Kansas City Cable Railway Co. was chartered in 1883; the first car was operated over the road in June 1885. -- Theo. S. Case, ed. History of Kansas City, Missouri (Syracuse, N. Y., D. Mason & Co., 1888). p. 409.
5. The Bartell House was considered the best arranged and most convenient edifice of the kind in the state. -- Junction City Union, February 28, 1880. The hotel was opened on February 23, 1880, and a special railroad coach was operated between Kansas City and Junction City for the benefit of invited guests. Invitations to the opening were issued to officials of various railroads, state officials, leading newspaper editors throughout Kansas, commercial travelers, offers at Fort Riley, citizens of surrounding towns, and their ladies. -- Kansas Historical Society clippings, Geary county, v. 3, pp. 186-188. The hotel was bought by the Lamer chain in 1954 and the name was changed to Lamer.
6. The Rock Island railroad went straight west from a point two miles east and two miles north of old Lebanon. The new town site was laid out in 1887. -- Smith Center Review, December 26, 1935.
7. The reference is to Edward Eggleston's The Mystery of Metropolisville (1873).
8. Cheever, a location in Dickinson county, was about 12 miles north of Abilene. The post office was discontinued in 1885.
9. Williams Addison Philips (1824-1893) was a native of Scotland. He came to Kansas in 1855 and was appointed a special correspondent of the New York Tribune, having had both journalistic and legal training. In 1858 he headed a party which founded Salina. He served the Union with distinction in the Civil War and was a congressman from Kansas, 1873-1879. His The Conquest of Kansas (1856) was an important book of the period. -- Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 18, p.55.
Phillips' library of approximately 1,000 volumes in the fields of economics, history, and the sciences, including an important group of ethnological works, was bequeathed to Kansas Wesleyan University, Salina. The story of the ultimate disposal of the greater part of the collection including the ethnological studies, is told by Frank J. Anderson, librarian of Kansas Wesleyan University, in an article, "A Man and His Books," in the Mountain-Plains Library Quarterly, Wichita, for Spring, 1962.
10. In the spring 1885 a group of investors, headed by P. S. Eutis and O. R. Phillips, organized the Lincoln Land Company and laid out the town of Eustis. For a detailed account of the county-seat war in Sherman county, see "Sherman County and the H[omesteaders] U[nion] A[ssociation]," an address by E. E. Blackman, Kansas Historical Collections, v. 8, pp. 50-62. Goodland became the county seat.
11. This is probably a reference to the county-seat war in Wichita county between Leoti and Coronado, 1885-1887. Three Leoti were killed during the prolonged contest. For details, see The End of Coronado, Kansas Historical Collections, v 12. pp. 441-447.
12. Whiskey Point was a local name for a now extinct location in Geary county. Other names were West Point and Riley City. It has been reported that barrels of whisky were spilled there in 1853 by troops from Fort Riley.
13. The following lines appear in the poem, Lucille, written by Edward Robert Bulwer Lytton in 1860:
We may live without poetry, music and art;
We may bye without conscience and live without heart;
We may live without friends; we may live without books;
But civilized man can not live without cooks.
He may live without books -- what is knowledge but grieving?
He may live without hope, -- what is hope but deceiving?
He may live without love -- what is passion but pining.
But where is the man that can live without dining?
14. Key Stone and Vine Creek were locations in Dickinson and Ottawa counties, respectively.
15. See "The Kaw or Kansa Indians," by Frank Haucke, Kansas Historical Quarterly, v. 20, pp. 36-60.
16. On March 24, a tornado hit Cunningham (Kingman county). There was no loss of life, but many buildings were damaged. -- Kingman Weekly Courier, March 29. 1888.
17. John H. Mahan, Abilene, served as judge of the court of appeals, northern department, 1879-1901.
18. Maggie was Susie's father's horse, used to carry milk to the creamery and to act as lead for his yoke of oxen. She was also Susie's saddle horse.