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THE ARGUS, MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2, 1907.
PET PROJECT OF THE AGED PIONEER WHO HAS BEEN
RETRACING THE OLD OREGON TRAIL
Building a Great National Road Along the Route of One of
America's Most Historic Highways Is the Noble Mis
sion of the Hardy Traveler Journeying In a Prairie
Schooner to Washington He Wants the
Road Named "Pioneer Way."
THE DREAM OF THE STAR.
IA Song of the Oregon Trail. Dedicated
to Ezra Meeker, l'ioneer.
A song for the men who blazed the
With hearts that would not quail
They made brave quest of the wild
They cut the Oregon trail.
Back of them beckoned their kith and
And all that they held their own;
Front of them spread the wilderness
And ever the vast Unknown.
But ever ' t;
And no . c
For over -.
And th- ;
: kept their forward course,
tHey thought to lag,
. -v. flew the Red, White and
cam of a star for the flag!
rr en who cut the trait!
: m as steel
,sr:.th, they hewed the
:n C c imonweal.
A oheer i j.' !l
With sou: .
And fiery s
For the con-,.
And close on tl e r.'-Js of the pioneers
The eager thror ': closed in
And followed the toci 'o a far abode,
An Empire new to win.
And so they wrought at the end of the
As ever must brave men do,
Till out of the dark there gleamed
And the dream of the star came true!
A toast to the men who made the road!
And a health to the men who dwell
In the great new land by the heroes
Who have builded it wide and well!
The temple stands where the pine tree
And dim is the ancient trail.
But many and wide are the roads that
And stanch are the ships that sail!
For the land is a grand and goodly
And its fruitful fields are tilled
By the sons who see on the flag of the
The dream of the star fulfilled!
EZRA MEEK Kit AND HIS
IN 1ST2 Eara Meeker, pioneer, aged
twenty-two. drove an ox team t
the far northwest .over the Ore
gon trail. In 190d-07 Ezra Meeker,
pioneer,; aged seventy-sir, has driven
an ox team from the far northwest to
the east over the Oregon trail and far
byond. Between these two date!
whnt marvels have happened!
Ezra Mroker, pioneer. Is a poet
tlioush !it lines not write verse. . No
man sav one whose soul is possessed
by bealti fiil sentiment could have un
dertaken si:di a trek sis Ezra Meeker
Is just r, :-j letiug. For an old man
of his -;irs,. it is almost an epic
achievement. Vt Mr. Meeker Insists
tat he Is ".ii.'y seventy-six years
young," and must apologize right
at the outset for calling him old. The
pioneer declares l:at he hasn't known
a sick day for move than half a cen
tury. He was twenty-two when he
took . his young wife to the Oregon
eountry from the old home In Indiana
fifty-fonr years ago. Mrs. Meeker
the same young wife still lives to
share her husband's fame, for he Is
going to be famous as the preserver
and restorer of the old Oregon trail,
one of our most historic highways.
So that has been the mission of Ezra
Mocker on this eastward ox team trek,
this prairie selioonor excursion from
the west coast to the east coast, which
lias occupied nineteen months. Mr.
Meeker might Lave traveled it in five
days by transcontinental train, but be
ing a poet soul ;iud a pioneer still aft
er half a century of pioneering be
would have nothing but a drive iden
tical with that of 1S.2. only in reverse
direction and continuing right on to his
birthplace in Rutlcr county, Ind.; then
to New York city, which he has just
reached; then to Oyster Hay to pre
sent his plea to the president and then
on to Washington for further pushing
of his pet project. What that project
is may be told in a few words.
Ezra Meeker wants the government
to build a great national highway, fol
lowing the old trail from Ihe Missouri
river to the Oregon country, to be
named l'ioueer way.
"It will be a way," says this pio
neer, "that shall make traffic practi
cable by the trackless car, a road of
cement that shall be thronged by the
Mr. Meeker left his home In Pu
yallup, Wash., Jan. 20, 19i(, accompa
nied by Miss l'.crtha Templetou, his
granddaughter. Two stout, sturdy oxen
pulled an ancient prairie schooner of
the type of the Oregon pioneer time.
The wagon bed was of boat shape;
hence the name schooner. Pioneers
used to find the boat shaped bed handy
in crossing streams. Mr. Meeker him
self crossed several streams by using
his wagon bed for a boat on his way
out to Washington. A considerable
part of the wagon in which he made
the eastward trek belonged to the
identical schooner which he used iu
isr.2. His camp and cook outfit was
made up pretty much like that of the
early pioneer. There was even a dog
trotting alongside the tar bucket hang
ing at the rear. Ezra Meeker is noth
ing if not realistic in his doubling back
over the old trail.
The oxen were about the only mod
ern part of the . outfit, and yet they
looked strangely out of date as they
drew the covered wagon along the
dim old trail dim in places and la
other places made over into good
roads and much traveled for short dis
tances by the local Inhabitants. One
of the oxen made the entire transcon
tinental trip. The other died at Lin
coln. Neb., where Mr. Meeker was de
layed for several weeks looking for a
successor to that ox. This incident
serves to emphasize the wonderful
progress made by that part of the
country since the fifties. In those days
long caravans of ox teams were trudg
ing westward through Nebraska. Now
a man must wait weeks to find one
lone ox who knows his business.
At many points along the way Mr.
Meeker stopped to erect markers- or
monuments. He was not out for a
speed record. Usually he would ad
dress the people gathered at a point
which it was desirable to mark. At
several places the school children, bun
dreds of them, contributed their mites
for the making of the monument. Herd
a rude bowlder was placed, there a
cairn of etone and yonder, a handsome
granite shaft At the famous pass
through the Rocky mountains Mr. Mee
ker traveled eighty-four miles from n
postofflca " to reach ' the summit- and
place a nonament Only twenty-four
Arsons witnessed this interesting ceT
nony. Ezra Meeker's memory Is perfect.
tie recognized many spots which he
Dad seen as a young man. But be
(ound vast changes. The country
through which he passed in 1S52 was
largely barren plains, prairies, deso-
I late stretches of waste wilderness. He
round the scraggly buffaio grass sup
planted by the cultivated grasses of
agriculture. He found orchards and
forests developed on what had been
treeless territory. He fouud splendid
cities and thriving towns all along. He
fouud highly developed farmhouses,
the wide fields cultivated by motor
plows and the grain gathered by great
reapers which move by traction power
over the fields, heading the wheat,
thrashing it and tilling sacks with the
golden store. For a considerable part
of the journey he found a great trans
continental railway line following
practically the Oregon trail.
Whizzing automobiles passed the an
cient schooner outfit from time to tiirn.
Occupants of these modern machines
no doubt wondered who it was In the
prairie schooner and why he was do
ing it Perhaps some of them smiled
at the quaint spectacle, as at "the last
leaf on the tree." But the well pre
served pioneer, enthusiastic iu his mis
sion for preservation of the old trail,
for building l'ioneer way so that fu
ture generations may travel it and
recall the glorious achievements of the
early pioneers, the men who settled
the Pacific northwest and made it
American territory this young -old
pioneer cared not a whit what others
thought of him. He did care, though,
for what they thought of his project,
and at every opportunity he told the
people about it and urged their co
operation. Picturesque Abode.
At the Lewis and Clark exposition
in Portland two years ago I talked
with Ezra Meeker from time to time.
He was a "feature" of that exposi
tion. He lived on the grounds in a
cozy house made of a section of a gi
gantic Washington tree hollowed out
and roofed over with canvas. It was
a strikingly picturesque abode, delight
fully appropriate to the occupant and
the occasion. There sat Ezra Meeker,
selling his books to those who would
buy, talking with his visitors about
the old days and the new 'days and
discussing his pet scheme for person
ally retracing the trail and having it
restored. In his tree house, the room
being at least fifteen feet in diameter,
Mr. Meeker had relics of the old days.
I never met a saner man than Ezra
Meeker. He is a widely traveled man.
He has known both wealth and pov
erty. Early iu the Washington terri
tory days he discovered that hops
grow with remarkable fecundity in
that region. He planted great hop
yards aud waxed wealthy from the
product. In those days he was called
the hop king.
Daniel Webster and other easterners
strongly opposed the acquisition of the
Oregon country. Webster held that all
the country beyond the Rockies was
barren desert, worthless wilderness,
and made some comments on the
worthlessness of that region which
look like hilarious humor today. P.ut
Webster was serious. He knew little
or nothiug of the great west beyond
the backbone of the mountains. The
fight for Oregon, which meant a great
deal more than the present state of
that name, was carried on by the pio
neers. It was waged by Ezra Meeker
and men of his stamp, who drove ox
teams across that trackless, "worth
less" wilderness. It was waged also
by meu like Benton and Dr. Lewis
F. Linn iu the United States senate,
both of them from Missouri and both
able to "show" what Webster couldn't
see. Linn really began the battle In
the senate, and after he died Benton
took up the struggle. The state of
Oregon has named counties for Linn
The United States did not get all
of the original Oregon country. We
got the territory now comprised in the
three states of Oregon. Washington
and Idaho and a small portion of two
other states, but the greed of Great
Britain and the dilatoriness of some
of our own statesmen robbed tis of the
rest of tt. The slogan of "fifty-four
forty or fight" is well remembered. It
meant that by. right of discovery and
exploration the land was ours up to
the parallel of 54 degrees 40 minutes,
marking the southern boundary of
what was then Russian America. By
final compromise we got the southern
part, and England took the northern
section. Had America held out- for
the whole of the. Oregon country the
United States now would extend in an
unbroken line from the tip end of
Florida to the icy cap of northernmost
Alaska. Wouldn't it have been worth
Traveled by Men of Note.
The old Oregon trail led out from the
towu of Independence, Mo., overland a
matter of 3,000 miles to Vancouver
and Astoria. Lewis and Clark, the
first official explorers of the region,
traversed parts of the trail. Dr. Mar
cus Whitman traversed it time and
again between his home, near Fort
Vancouver, Wash., and the national
capital In his efforts to induce con
gress to Americanize the vast region
and secure a permanent hold. Joaquin
Miller, the lyric poet of the pioneers,
traversed the old trail as a boy with
his father's family.
"Whatever may be the outcome of
Ezra Meeker's mission, no person who
is acquainted with? the story of the
pioneers and the history of the strag
gle for the Oregon country and its
splendid development can withhold re
spect and reverence from this man
who in bis declining years has written
with the wheels of an ox team an epic
couplet in lines 3,000 miles long; The
trek of Ezra Meeker betongs to Ameri
can history. ROBEUTUS LOVE.
GEORGE APE FABLES
The Unhappy Financier and the Discontented
Copyright, 1902, 1003. by Robert Howard
, Russell. I
a s t o c u-
gobs of the
W h e r e
with. Day and
ed by those
w h o were
up for De
ii o in i u a
IN THE DEEP WOODS.
leges, or who had Good Tilings which
they wished him to back with much
At last. In order to escape the wear
ing sound of the Ticker and get the
Hard Knots out of his Nervous Sys
tem, lie ducked away to the Country
and left word behind that he had gone
He struck a Rest Cure, where every
one dressed for Dinner and a full Or
chestra tore off Popular Music. He
saw the same Mournful Faces of the
male and female Plutocrats who were
trying to purchase Enjoyment at so
much per Day, and they did not seem
to have a tranquillizing Effect on him.
So he wandered away from the Hotel
and took to a quiet Country Lane, and
soon he was iu the Deep Woods.
The Silence was broken only by the
Rustle of Leaves, the tapping of the
Woodpeckers aud the occasional Stunt
of some Feathered Warbler.
"This is where Man really belongs,"
sighed tin; track-sore Financier. "What
an artificial and profitless Life we lend
there among the Sky-Scrapers. Our
Little Existence is rounded off with a
French Menu and a few lines of Rro-tuo-Seltzer
in the Morning. We toil
for years trying to get the Hammer
Lock on Fame, and when it comes to
a Cash-In nobody knows whose Funer
al it is, and the Trolley-Cars refuse to
get out of the Way."
While he was thus Meditating he
came to a Clearing iu which there was
a humble Shack with a dinky Little
Garden behind it. In the Doorway of
the Modest Cot sat a Rube who wore
a heavy Fringe on the Sub-Maxillary.
Above his Head bloomed the symmet
rical Morning-Glory, and the fresh
smell of the Greenwood was mingled
with the pleasing Odor' of the Store
Tobacco he was smoking, the while he
spelled out the Long Words in a News
paper. "There's a Three-Sheet of Content
ment for you," said the weary Million
aire. "I wish I had his Snap. Noth
ing to do except read about Crime aud
watch the Squirrels. No one to call
him up on the Phone. No lying awake
at Nights wondering what the Attorney-General
is going to do. When
he's hungry all he has to do Is pin: on
the ("riddle, pull a few Radishes, and
milk the Cow. No getting roped in at
Annual Dinners. No struggle to butt
into the Headquarters of the Elite.
How I envy him!"
So he approached the Mau behind
the Whiskers and greeted him cheer
fully, for he felt that he would fain
know the Secret of True Happiness.
"You have a charming Joint here,"
said the Financier. "You seem to be
quite away from the hurry aud turmoil
of the World."
"Yes, It is very Ixmesome," was the
melancholy Reply. "I should like to
live on the Main Pike, but Land is too
high. As soon as. I sell my Hogs I
hope to have a Telephone installed.
Sometimes three or four Days will
elapse after an important Prize-Fight
ere I learn the Result.
This failure to
keep lu Touch with Events is very try
ing to one who would be abreast of the
"Why should the Outside World cut
any Ice with you?" demanded the Mil
lionaire. "Here you have a leautiful
Sylvan Retreat. The Birds carol in
the Trees. Nature is ever smiling. You
are far removed from the carking
Cares, the hard Throw-downs,- and the
Bunko Manipulations of the Commer
cial World. Are yon not satisfied?"
"How can I le when I read here lu
the Weekly alxnit a Newpor Shindig
where they have $S(!n worth of Ice
Cream? Why should I ride Horseback
get to see
P 1 c t u re
to see me
at a time " lx-a 11 1S 1 i-"-""-"'-"Why.
you concatenated Chump, you
have a two-acre Paradise here and you
don't know it," said the City Man.
"I'd like to trade Places with you."
"I'll trade with anybody," said the
Iiube. "I'm tired of this Dog's Life."
"You're on!" exclaimed the Finan
cier. "This Is what I'll stake you to.
You'll have a. Spring Bed with 4 Mat-
fSyf fyjfi'&gfi tit J
res a.id a Cui.opy. You can lie
there on the Husks :n look at SJO.-
Ou :t worth of Paintings by the Old
Musters. In tha Mornine a British
Gs'Utieman of Aristocratic Appearance
will come nr.d lead you to the Royal
Porcelain, after which ho will dross
you, without your lifting a Finger.
You shall have Siik Underwear and a
Monogram worked on e::ch Sock. At
Breakfast you '.M have Hot-House
Grapes and everything else out of 'oa
lon, end Flowers on the Table. After
Eivakfast you may step into a Car
riage wiili Gold Trimmings, drawn by
two Prize Hays, and ride to an office
where the Chairs are paddd eight
Inches deep and all the Hirelings
jump at your slightest Command. For
Luncheon you shall go to a Club where
you may meet those who have Money
to bum; and if your Click is under
$11. it fIiotvs that you are a Piker.
You can stop Work at 3 l'.-M. and go
for a Spin in your French Touring-
Car, with a Chauffeur to work the
Wheel. In the Evening yon ran put on
your Glads and driuk S17 worth of
vintage V, ines and take In two or
three Theatres, and after that start
in again and have something to Eat.
"You are stringing me," said the
Rube. "Such Heavenly Joys as these
never come to the poor Yap.
"I Mill let you use my Rank Ac
count, and then you won't be a Yap."
explained the Millionaire. "Go and
revel in the Life that you read about in
the Weekly Papers. All that I ask In
return is the Use for one blissful
Month of this sequestered Snuggery,
here among the Moraine-Glories r.nd
the blithesome Chickadees."
The Financier gave the Rube all the
Credentials needed and shipped him
to the roarintr Metropolis. Then he
sat down under the whispering Trees
with nothing to superintend except the
rising and setting of the Sun.
Two weeks later, as the Financier
was emerging from the Deep Woods
hc met the Rube coming iu with
Pullman-Car Towel around his Head.
"What, so soon?" asked the City
Man. "I've been against it for 2."
Years. Why should you pass it up
after two brief Weeks r'
"For the ust three or four Days it
was Great Stuff," responded the Suf
ferer. "Then I legan to tumble to th
Fact that the Shows were all about
the Same and that a $7 Lunch was
Delusion unless I had an Appetite.
The Automobile was a Hit until some
of the New Machines began to pass
me, and tlien I lost Interest. A3 soon
as it was, noised around that I had
Stuff, I became a Mark for every
known Con Game, so I tightened u;
and refused to see Visitors, and every
one said I was a Snob, and the only
Friends I had were the Waiters
tipped. So far as I can discover, the
Bust-Head resulting from the Rubbles
that rost ( per Quart I the same oli
Feeling thnt we used to get out of
Apple-.Iack. In short, I begin to see
'. that th
gin to dip
to the Sta
tion?" COM PARING AOTES.
"Say. I don't like to roast your Es
tablishment, but you have got the
I bunimest lot of Lirds I ever listened
to," said the Finan-Mer. "Their Reper
tory is too limited. And that Cow has
a Manner that Is soothing for a Day
or two and then logins to suggest
an irritating lack of Versatility, as it
were. I discovered, also, a certain
Monotony in the Antics of the Squir
rels. As for the Weekly, I have read
It all through four times. Including the
Sarsaparilla Ads, and along towards
the last the only thing that interested
me was the Time-Table. I nei'ded a
good Rest, and I've had enough to
last me fully 3 years. When I strike
that Clnb to-night, I'll simply sign my
Name to the Card and have them
bring in the whole Works from Caviar
to Cafe Xolr."
"I'm afraid there isn't any such In
stitution as a Paradise on Earth," re
marked the Rube.
"Oh, yes. there is." said the Million
aire, "but we never find it twice in
the same Spot."
MORAL: A Complete Change will
always do one Good and sometimes do
him to a Finish.
All the news all the time THE
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HOW TO FIND JONES: GO TO HIS OLD STAND, THEN GO
THE VAY THE SUN SETS JUST FIVE DOORS. THE NEW
NUMBER IS 1609 SECOND AVENUE, ROCK ISLAND. THEN
I KNOW YOU WILL NOT BLAME ME FOR MOVING, FOR THE
BUILDING AND LOCATION ARE NICE ENOUGH FOR A
BANK INSTEAD OF A
TALK ABOUT PEOPLE SWELLING UP. DID YOU EVER
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DROP IN AND SEE ME. I HAVE THE STORE. I HAVE
THE GOODS. I HAVE THE MONEY.
1609 Second Avenue.
Arc you owing several small bills in several places, where It takes
all your money each week to p.iy on llicso bills? If o, don't worry,
but come to us, for our business was established to help all those who
We will loan any amount from $3.00 to $'joo on household goods,
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Seventy-two cents is the weekly payment on a $30 loan for 50
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EVERYTHING STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL.
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If you need money, fill out tne blank below and mail to us, and our
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Letters and phone calls given prompt attention.
Old Phone N. 2425. '
to Me Now.
5132. 1609 SECOND AV., ROCK ISLAND
219J4 Brady Street, Davenport
and Saturday Nights.