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The St. Louis Republic. [volume] (St. Louis, Mo.) 1888-1919, August 05, 1900, Magazine Section, Image 39

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Persistent link: https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn84020274/1900-08-05/ed-1/seq-39/

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"Driving stage coach is a mighty steady
Job," says Chris lluskey of No. 1931 Warren
street. Ana Chi is ought to know, for ho
drives stage coach arl carries the United
States mail from the St. l,ouib post ollice
to the Morse Mill post office, a forty-two-mlle
ride, with nine intermediate stations.
Each morning but Sunday cither Hus
key's stago coach or the one driven by Jim
Hanson of No. 2MG Arsenal street starts
from the north, or mall wagon, side of the
Custom-house nt G:C0 o'clock, with its load
of mall sacks strapped on behind.
Let's make a trip, with Chris Huskey and
tee what we see.
At Peterson's, tho first stop on South
Broadway, the driver gets out and goes into
the place to pick up sundry packages, and a
"red soda." There are some laundry, pome
notions and some burners for a gasoline
etove in the lot. There are also directions
concerning meat orders to be tilled for cus
tomers along tho route, and some minor de
tails to be looked after.
Coming out of Petersen's, we discover the
old lady who has climhtd in unassisted, and.
having arranged her few baskets and par
cels to her eiden; satisfaction, now beams
complacently beneath her new black lion
net: her hands incised in black lace half
mitts, folded benignly across her lap. Dear
old soul! She lb 72.
Out past the Soulard Market, through the
maze of produce wagons, which, if coming
In our direction, respectfully and alertly
turn aside to keep from Interfering with or
obstructing the United Status mail, we rat
tle at a biisk gait until we stop at Gravois
avenue and Arsenal street to pick up a.
fresh-faced country lass of H, who has
been visiting relatives in tho city. Her
shining new black paper valise stowed away
beneath the seat, she shakes down her
yellow braids in pink llbluns and opens out
lier Japanese fan a sure proof that she Is
an exp.jrielmd traveler.
At a point on Gravois avenue Just before
wo come to the House of the Good Shep
lieid Chris, the dilver, pointing to home
wagons dumping jocks ahead, informs us in
an undertone, so that it may not reach the
old lady's ea:s, that "There they go again,
lalsln the devil with more rocks."
Pretty soon we come to Tholozan avenue,
:.nd the old lady glows reminiscent. ".My,
oh, me!" she says. "See this hill we're just
getting le.idy to go down? It's the old Too
louzhau Hill, aim many's the old person re
members that hill to their sorrow. Forty
yeais ago it didn't use to be like it is now.
It was all clay then, long before they bu'lt
this loek road. Pulling up Tooloozhan Hill
then was mighty different from what it is
"They say Grant, used to frequently get
stuck with a load o' ties on this hill. 1
leckou. though, that ain't the only kind o'
load he cvir gut stuck with between here
and further on out, whete he used to live
in those days. I'll show you where the
house used to stand when we came to the
place. Oh. no, gracious not! I should say
we ain't close to the place. It's a right
smart bit yet to go before we come to where
Grant used to live.
"I should say 1 did know Julia Dent. J
knew -ner before she was married, and aft-
crwaidi. too. I reckon I ought to; 1 was
born out on this road, and that's seventy
two years ago. Why, my parents, bless you,
are buried right over there, about two miles
this .side of Jeff et son Barracks.
"Here's whero we cross the River des
Peres. Hut I suppose you know all about
that, living in the city. There's no use me
telling you about a little stream like that,
although I've heard that some do call it "the
Liver Disperse.' "Taln't much of a river, is
it? Still, there have been people drowned in
it when It was on the rampage.
"Yes, this is the first post office stop, I
believe. Nursery Post Office they call it.
But I don't know much about It. In my days
there wasn't much nursery business along
this road, and I'm getting too old now to
try to keep up with all the new things. Oh,
yes, I forgot to tell you, there used to be a
toll gate at the foot of Tooloozhan Hill,
which was a holy ttrror, and steep in war
Affton Post Office Is tho next stop, and,
after we have left it behind, Gravois road,
as it has now become, stretches out from
hill to hill like a wind-tossed ribbon over a
field of green. Wero one to follow the old
horse's advice to his dlrver, "Walk me up
hill, walk me down. Trot me when on level
giound,"' there would be little trotting- in
dulged in on most parts of the Gravois road.
lluskey Is an old-time street car man. In
3S79 he was foreman of the Sixth street
bam. Ho has driven a street car and has
been a motorman on the California avenue
line, and he looks after his stage coacli
brako just the same as ho used to look
after tho brake on his car. Just as constant
ly and Just as carefully. And all the time
ho keeps a-driving, he keeps a-driving.
"Hold on there! Ease up a little!" Slap
gets the brake under the driver's extended
fcot. "There's a lady running down to the
roail over there. She wants a paper. Well,
we'll just about get to the mouth of that
lane the same time she does.
"Whoa, there! What is it, madam?"
"Republic, please," says the lean old
woman, who, but for the fire in her sunken
eyes beneath the brown sunbonnet, and her
eager thirst for news of the day, would be
classed as decrepit. See how her gaunt
1 and trembles as she reaches up the two
pennies for her purchase. See the fcveiish
impatience with which she scurries up the
lane, opening the newspaper as she goes.
Tho girl in the back seat hasn't said a
word. Perhaps she is wise and knows that
it is unsate to talk to strangers when travel
ing. Perhaps she is shy. or has been taught
not to speak until spoken to.
Turning half around cur old lady address
es her. "Are you comfortable, daughter?"
she asks.
"Oh. yes'm." says the girl, blushing with
the effort.
"That's all pasture stock from the city.'
volunteers the driver, with a wave of his
whip to tho right. Those are all city horses
sent out here to be put on grass while their
owners are away at the seashore or some
other old place, I don't know where.
Wouldn't mind having the pick of a couple
of good teams out of that lot myself, but
I'm doubtful if they could stand this rock
read, day in and day out It wouldn't sur
prise me if it would go pretty hard on some
of thoso high-steppers, this stage coach
"You remember," asks one old lady, "a
i year and a half, or so. back, there was a
fellow tried to kill his wife and her mother
I In St. Louis? I don't know but what ho did
kill them. He had been separated from his ,
wife and she was stopping with her mother.
So lie went to work and took a basket of
dirty clothes to where there they were liv
ing. It was wash day, and they were wash
ing, and he just took the dirty clothes along
j so as to Imve an excuse for going. Well.
when he got there he tried to shoot and
kill them both with a pistol he had in his
basket of dirty clothes. And then ho shot
and killed himself.
"Well, that man used to live on this road,
over in that house there. See, in that stone
house right through those trees there. His
first wife died and he married the girl that
was working for them, and that's the one
he shot. What do you think of that?
"Kight up there's where a man got drunk
and fell down and broke hi head o:i some
stone steps. He went crazy."
Tiger lllhs and hollyhocks seem to bo
most numerous of flowers after the nurs
eries have been posted, and hardly a house
from the most substantial brick to the
humblest log" cabin along the entire route
special conr.nsroNDnxcEi.
Sandoval, 111., Aug. 3. If "Uncle" Frank
Blnnlon of Vernon, this (Marion) county,
lives untl lthe ninth day of this month ho
will have rounded out a century of years,
and great preparations arc being made for
a great gathering at his home on that day,
there being from :: to 500 people expected
to be present and participate in the cele
bration. "Uncle Frank." as he is familiarly known,,
was born in Hedford County, Va., the 3th
day of August. IS), and was mairled In
lSZi. His wife died in lSK. and lie has never
He is the father of nine children, has 23
grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren.
Coming to Illinois In 1S42, he settled just
four miles from where he now lives. He
has always been a stanch Democrat, cast
ing his first vote for President for Andrew
Jackson, and declares W. J. Bryan will get
his next vote, if he lives to cast it.
In 1S61 Mr. Binnion united with the Metho
dist Episcopal Church, South, and stiiil re
mains a member of that church.
The family has a military record, both
his grandfathers having fought In the Rev
olution, his father in the war of 1S12, three
sons in the Civil War, and four grandsons
in the Spanish-American War.
"Uncle Frank" is still hale and hearty
and with his daughter conducts a hotel at
Vernon. He always attends the Old Set
tlers' Reunions, and never fails to get the
prizes offered to the oldest man. and the
man most active for his age on the grounds.
He prefers walking to riding, often visiting
neighboring towns in this way. '
When asked how he accounted for his
longevity, he replied that it was regular
habit?, and added that his father lived to
bo 101 years old and his grandfather 110.
He has never used tobacco and but very
little liquor. His occupation has been.
me vai&
but has Its share of tlic gorgeous blooms in
surrounding profusion.
Through the green underbruMi and over
the shocked fields of golden grain comes
the call of "Bob White." See, there runs a
pair of quail now, just ahead of u., across
the road. Hut the hunting grounds along
Graols road are all well posted with warn
ings, and offending hunters are severely
dealt with. Under this splendid system of
each farmer serving a his own game nr-
den, the qnail have multiplied, and If "Hob
White" must contribute himself to the
tooth and palate of man. he apparently
proposes to lender the self-sacrifice on the
altar of his protector, the man who plants
the giain lie eats, for there are many quail
in the posted
rounds along Chris lluskej's
Our old lady Is talking again. "A little
further along here," she is saying, "i
v.ncre I u-ed to go to school. I paid so eems
a week for board, and a dollar a. month tor
schooling. And ris;ht up where that big
tree is we ued to wash. Theie's a pond ip
on top of that mound, and it never go. s
dry. We lived over yonder in the wnol on
the light, but our spring water was too
haul, so we used to bundle the clothes up
and bring them over here to cleanse them.
It's funny, Isn't It, how a pond can stay
up on top of a. hill that way and never
go dry?
"Sappington's the town we come to next,
and it's named after the Sappingtons. Old
Bona it -IiiiMpc1
"5 A' i
feiii-i.V? X4.?-ZI2rK2ZX.3A -. HfMa.
Taken a Year Ago, on His !)l)th IJir thday.
chiefly farming, although he was a carpen
ter by trade. Many of the early pioneers
of the county He buried in coffins made by
"Uncle Frank," and tho labor, and often
the material, were given by him. Coffins in
those days were very rude affairs, when
made, as they were, at home. Mr. Binnion
says that he believes that he has siven
I Zeph wn about the first one to settle down I
arounl In re, ami lie used to have a grist
mill run b osen. It was a good deal Iiko
a treadmill. The oxen first kept a-stepplng
up. a-Mepping up all the time, and going
no place in particular. Hut I suppose tli"y
were useful, because a powerful lot of grist
was turned out at Sappington's. I believe
they did saw some logs there once upon a
time, too.
"There was old Zeph S.ippington. I was
i telling you about, and then there m Jack
I and I.int S.ippington. And over jonder
tluough there was where old Judge Fine
. settled
The Fines wcie from the State of
the Siate of Virginia." our old
, Virgiuia-
lady repeated
in a measured voice of re
mm ct.
"And over to the right used to be Sarah's
Lick. We ue to live over there, and
when my father died it's said he had money
buried there. I don't know whether lli.it
was so or not. for we never could locate It.
Hut, from all I've ever been able to gather
it must liae been over to the northwest
that he bulled It. Now, maybe I oughtn't
to s-ay anything about it. it seems so fool
ish, but there are a grc-at many who :-ay
tbat after my father's death he u-ed to
come baik with a lantern at nights and
look for that money h'mcif. Of eoaise oti
don't belli ve anything like that. It all
seems so foolish, doesn't It?
"This is the Meramec River we're com
ing to now, boys," says Huskey, "and that's
more labor away than any man in the
county, a fact which gives him more real
satisfaction than if he had charged for his
services. His life has been one of useful
ness, and his fellow citizens intend to honor
him right roally on the 9th of August.
The little child in the picture Is a neigh
bor's In whom he takes Ereat-'plcasure.
the Highlands over yonder, way np on top
of that hill. I don't know just how far it
Is to there, but I reckon it's about three
miles or three miles and a half. Here's
Fenton Post Office over on this side of the
bridge." he adds, after we have crossed the
"Yes," interrupts our old lady, "and about
all you can say about Fenton Is mat it
never seemed to go ahead like It ought to.
It never was what It ought to be until the
Germans took hold of it and made it what
it is. Still, Fenton could pick up some yet
if they'd only push it."
Out from Fenton we begin to encounter
waving fields of millet German millet, and
Huskey says it makes the very best kind
of feed, but for horses it ought to be cut
icasonably early, before It heads out and
gets too hard.
And this Is what they call Bowles Hill.
When we get up on top it's the end of St.
Uouis County.
From Fenton to Murphy's Post Office it
is mostly up hill, and from Murphy to High
Ridge It is all that way. From the high
gicund the read is now trai cling we can
look back and faintly see the distant city
of St. Louis, with the ascending smoke ot
its manufacturing industries. And off to
the left are the dense black smoke c!oads
that hang between Cheltenham and the
great blue sky.
As we climb up to High Ridge the driver
succors what remaining spirit there Is icft
in the now tired team for a final spurt up
to the tavern, where we encounter the stae
from the south. Here we alight and find
the tavern's dining table with each seat
occupied. Somebody says s-omething about
"seven-up" and the driver gets stuck. It's
a good joke on the driver.
For a respectable space of time after din
ner we sit around in the shade while Huskey
and Hansen compare notes and exchange
orders for various articles they are to pick
up and deliver to people along the route
over which the other has already passed
this morning.
On an eminence out from High Ridgo our
old lady points out the quaint little houo
ot tho "Dirty Doctor." When he first built
the house It was a los house, she says, anj
when he built on that barren ridge every
body predicted he would never get along
there. But he did. and what's more, he
beautified the place, planted peach and
other fruit trees. The house Is boarded
over now, and. while some log outbuild
incs remain, it is altogether a quaint and
picturesque setting In a most beautiful and
romantic spot. But while the picture of ex
ternal beauty still survives. It is said of
the Dirty Doctor that he died as he lived,
unmarried, unloved, unkempt and alone on
a bed of dirty rags.
"It's getting pretty hot, don't you think,
boys?" asks Huskey. as we start down En
tire Hill, the steepest and longest on the
re.ute. This hill runs down and down
through the timber, and the shade of
spreading trees we find most enjoyable,
Huskey is more th.-n busy with the brake
when the sound of a "Holloa!" comes to
us. We pull up and out of the' shade
on the lower side of the road comes a man
who afks If we see a boy a mile or so
down the road looking' for lost cattle to
please tell him he has them located down
in the timber here and he's minding them,
and to tell the boy to come en back and
help drive 'em home.
At House's Spring Post Office our old
lady gets out and wo bid her a pleasant
adieu. "Good-by, all," she cries from her
dooryard, "and don't forget to throw one
of those big fishing hats over In the yard
when you come back this way. It will
make a good sunshade for the garden."
The girl on the back seat, she of the yel
low braids in pink ribbons, manages to
stammer a faint "good-by," and nearly
choker with the effort.
, Further on down the road j came to
Y2:ii&ftm'&2gT - S?z
the famous House's Sprlntr. ancT, whlta
Huskey drives the team Into the branch
that they may drink, we get out to quench,
our thirst with the cooling water. A fleck
of geese impedes our way. One glance at
the camera is. enough for them, ani they
allow us to pass.
And now it Is the bashful girl's turn to
get out. We deposit her at the mouth of
a lane which lead up past a fie!J. wherein,
above the rails of a worm fenco. we can
see a thrashing' outfit at work.
And now we come to Bis River, and,
crossing it. -get a good view of Van der
Crussen's mill. The waters or Big- River
have a fall out of the ordinary, and numer
ous water-power mills lot Us banks at good
points of vantage.
Byrnesvllle Is the next post office. Thl
is the place where the tie rafts went to
pieces the other day, and the boss rafter,
who halls the stage coach down by the dam,
points out scattered portions of the awful
"I feel powerful bad over It." he says.
"I sure feel powerful bad. About as bad
a a man could feel about anything", I
reckon, unless he lost his wife, or some
thing like that.
"Just think. Mister Huskey. there was
I.;;??, tie? In them two rafts." he goes en.
"It was two days after the big rain of last
week. I knowed "
"Get out!" says Huskey. "you don't say?
Fifteen hundred and twenty-three! That's
a powerful lot o' ties to lose nt once. Didn't
you get any of 'em back?"
"A few, just a few. Nothln like what I'd
like to have. An' them I did recover had
about four lnche" o" mud on 'em. Had to
raise 'em f'm the bottom, y know. An
just think. Mister Huskey. I could o' saved
'cm all If I'd only had one more rope. Yes,
sir: Just one more rope. It's too bad. but
I sure can't help It now. I done nil I could
do, an' that'." all any man can do."
At Cednr Hill Post Office we encountered
another mill and the biggest store on tho
route. It takes our driver, some time to
transact his business here, as there 1st
something of a "paper mail" to be turned
over here to n man who Is waiting" for It
with a cart and a saddle bag with "U.
S. M." stamped on it. While the Important
routine I" being gone through with we
watch two small and freckled boys stoning"
a lizard.
Closer and closer nre we getting, now In
to the heart of primitive nature. Into hill
sides where myriads of rattling good shinny
club"' are just naturally going to waste.
This is Missouri, the Mirsouri so dear to
those who dwell here, so teeming tvlth Its
rich bottom lands, so resourceful In timber
and mineral wealth hidden In Its hills.
Here's where they raise good corn and good
wheat- Here's where excellent potatoes are
grown. Here's where the best of Irish set
ters whelp their young pnd the squirrel dog
comes in handy. Here's where they grow
the "hillside navy." Here's where they
know good horses and ride them. Here's
where they raise that most valuable ani
mal, the Missouri mule. Now we are far
enough away from St. Louis to lose sight
of the truck and vegetable farms. This Is
our great, undeveloped Missouri.
It Is getting late now and the long shad
ows stealing through the runs, "the arrows
of sunset lodging in the tree tops bright"
on the lower side of the rock road, all go
to remind us that we are getting- decidedly
And now we are at Morse's mill, our
journey's, end. Let us go In and wash up
for supper. Ye-?, Mr. Winer will accommo
date us.
Corn pone, buttermilk, bacon and newly
laid eggs, hot biscuits, jam. strong coffee,
fresh vegetables and a quiet smoke on the
store porch after supper. It's worth com
ing for.
Besides, the bass are biting good just
below the dam now. DICK .WOOD,
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