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t. m. grist & sons, Publishers. J gl Ijamilg gleirspager: 40r f,lc |3fo?'olioit of the ^political, ?ocial, Agricultural, and (Tonimerriat Interests of the ?outh. {
VOL. 43. YORKVILLE, S. C., WEDNESDAY, JULY 21, 1897. - ~~ NO. 58.
^ - |' ' ~ * ~ | ] ' "
Copyright, 2897, by the Author.
Synopsis of Pevious Installments.
In order that new readers of The Enquirer
may begin with the following installment
of this story, and understand it
just the same as though they had read it
all from the beginning, we here give a
synopsis of that portion of it which has
already been published:
Chapters I and II.?Harmon O. Westcott
an American born to humble fortune,
learns that he is endowed with the strength
of Samson, but that he must not use the
gift except of necessity. III.?The young
Samson, who has tested his strength,
meets in Harold O. Westoott, a physical
double, born upon the same day. Harold
is a bachelor of great wealth and with
out ties. Harmon reveals his secret
and by way of example lifts an immense
safe with ease, and, taking a sword
between the fingers of his left hand,
snaps it in two like a pipestem. IV.?Harold
is an amateur boxer, and, learning that
Harmon is somewhat skilled in the art,
engages him as his substititte in a match
with a noted pugilist. The young Samson
is an easy victor, and his double
makes a contract with him to masquerade
in the plumage of Harold O. Westcott for
one year. He is installed in Harold's
quarter's with a princely bank account,
while the real Harold goes to Europe. V
and VI.?The first day of his novel role
the young Samson, at the immediate risk
of anv ordinary life, saves the mother of
Harold's fiancee from a horrible death in
the presence of her daughter, who recognizes
the hero, as she supposes. VII.?
Harold's mail contains a letter which apparently
implicates him in transactions in
green goods and another from the girl
begging him to call. The family has returned
unexpectedly from Europe, and
she bad planned a surprise for her lover,
now on the ocean to join her. Harmon
summons Detective Cone to find the addressof
the girl, Jeanette, and that worthy
lights upon a criminal clew in the green
goods letter, which he chances to see.
VIII.?Harmon calls on Jeanetto and explains
his delay by telling of injuries received
at the time of rescue. The interview
leads up to a point where the caller
feels it his duty as a man of honor to declare
that he is not Harold Westcott. Instead
of fainting, Jeanette murmurs:
"Dear Harold, you need rest. Think no
more of this." IX.?Harmon returns to
the Westcott apartments to find that they
" KIT Hato/divo Pp.no HA SIN*
mo naivuovi wj ? v ??w w?.pects
the absent owner of criminal associations.
Jeanette's mother sends the family
physician to advise Harmon to leave
town for a week to recover his health and
sanity. X.?Harmon retires to a village
on the Hudson. He is tracked by the
western green goods man, who demands
310,000 in cash upon an old promise of
Harold Westcott's. Harmon thinks it is
blackmail, but agrees to meet the villain
at night upon the Palisades. The strong
man is lured into ambush by & gang,
headed by a notorious desperado. He delivers
all hands over to the law, but meanwhile
makes a vain exhibition of his
strength and it vanishes.
I could have crushed him, even as 1
crushed the oaken table, but a slight
pressure of the forefinger ou the trigger
of the leveled revolver would havo ended
my career as quickly as a bolt from
"Inasmuch as I have no pistol and
you have the advantage of me, I surrender.
"Umpb, no pistol! What doyou want
of anything except your strength?"
"I give you my word that I will go
with you peaceably. Do you accept the
"I do," replied the officer, shoving
his weupou into his hip pocket. "The
next thing is to get Mr. Discoe out of
this and 1. ..n to the boat."
"I'll answer for him."
Without cutting the rope imprisoning
his ankles I snapped it apart and jerked
him to his feet.
"You can't trust this scoundrel I
will fasten his hands behind him."
The moment the handcuffs were removed
he made a sudden, fiereo effort
to break away. I knew ho would do it
and hurled him against the side of the
house with a force that caused him to
drop to tho floor partly stunned. By the
time he fully regained his senses his
wrists were secured behind his back.
That would prevent his using the manacles
as a weupou and dealing me a
treacherous blow when off my guard.
Grasping one of his arms, I told the
marshal to lead the way. He did so,
Covey Cone bringing up the rear, while
the last seen of Stepli he was staring in
open mouthed wonder at the 6trange
Tho deputy had done his duty faithfully.
Jake Huke was standing in the
middle of the highway with his guard
at his past when we joined him. A minute
later we were on our way to the
JT(Uie>uuunt ptiauiunu^ uuvi buutu^ug
down tho steep path to where Captain
Green was awaiting us with his boat.
Our two prisoners?leaving myself
out of account?were through all
thought of resistance. They muttered a
few words to each other, but wore familiar
enough with scenes of violence
not to attempt the impossible.
On the other shore Captain Green
mistook the point at which he intended
to touch, and the boat grounded several
feet from laud. He was about to back
off, when I said:
"Wait a moment. I'll fix it."
Str>Tinino mmn the nrow. I easilv
^"rr?r> -r r ? ? *
made the leap.
"Now hiuid ino the rudder chain."
"What aro you going to do? Wait till
I back off."
"Fling the anchor to me."
He would have refused had not Marshal
Welling ordered him to obey.
"The big fool," muttered the disgusted
skipper, picking up the prougliko
mass of iron, and, throwing it to land,
so close to my feet that I had to leap
aside to avoid being hit.
I tested the chaiu and saw that it was
strong. Then I gave such a vigorous
pull that the captain, who was standing,
went over backward.
When the prow was within reach, I
dropped the chaiu, and gnisping the
boat itself backed away until the craft
was entirely out of the river, with several
feet of dry land between its stern
and the ourrcnt.
There was a general laugh, but the
old man seemed to doubt the evidence
of his own eyes.
"Heavens o' nath, that must have
h*>oin mi nirthnnakel How shall Icetthe
bout back ag'iu?"
"I'll do it for you."
Waiting until all the occupants had
left except the skipper, I again seized
the prow and ran toward the river,
shoving the boat in front of me. As before,
the old gentleman had risen to his
feet, and as before he toppled over, with
an exclamation of amazement, a portion
of which I heard, and which was to the
effect that I must be satan himself.
Two days later Covey Cone was sitting
in my apartments. We were alone,
smoking and at our ease.
"It was a narrow squeak for you,
Westcott, but I think you've little to
''Why should I? You explained to the
marshal thut I had not hing to do with
this counterfeiting business."
"But the worst of it was you did
have something to do with it You
agreed to advance them $10,000 to help j
the thing along."
"But never did it"
"They wrote to you, reminding you
of your agreement"?
"And you stole the letter, thereby
laying yourself open to unpleasant con- (
sequences. But let that pass. You have
only their declaration that I was to in- !
vest in the enterprise. While God punishes
a man for hiB motives, human law
does not, so long as those motives do
not eventuate in action."
"I admit the foree of what you say
and repeat that yon are absolved irom
any unpleasant consequences. I explained
it *o the marshal, and he agrees with
me. Our explanation to the district attorney
will be all that is needed, but
you may have to appear on the witness
"I would prefer not to do that, though
of course I will obey any subpoena."
"Don't you think it was a reckless
thing to draw the $10,000 and take it
to that stone house in Jersey?"
"He's now you're best friend."
"The results answer your question."
* 'True, but those men carried weapons,
and your strength could not avail you
against a revolver."
"Just 60, but Discoc was like Marshal
Welling?he was 60 confident of being
able to crush me to earth that he tried
to do so before resorting to a deadly
weapon, and when we once came in
contact he was a babe in my hands."
"Nevertheless, why did you take so
much money with you?"
"Because I had given my promise."
"That is not the reason. Why did
you give the promise?"
' 'To make my#victory the more complete.
"I suspected it"
"And now you know it Could you
blame me?"
' 'I can't say that I do. But this miraculous
strength of yours seems to be a
sudden thing."
"On the contrary, it has been with
me all my life. But I resolved while
still a boy never to mako a vain display
of it."
"What of your performance with the (
boat the other night?" ]
"That was idle display. There was ;
no necessity for yanking that craft ,
ashore as I did. Had I paused to reflect, ,
I would not have done so." ]
"And the breaking of the darky's (
"That was another i_: ance of which (
I am ashamed."
"Now, however, since you have bro- ,
ken your rule, there will bo no harm ingoing
a little farther."
"What do you mean?"
"Give me a private exhibition."
"Haven't you had enough to convince (
you?" ,
"Yes, and enough to make me wish (
ror more."
I did not liko this, but my eye happeued
to fall upon tho safe in the uoxt
room. I recalled what I had done before
Harold Westcott, when thero was reason ;
for my exhibition.
"I'll do one thing and no more for
"Very well, provided that one thing
1b sufficient"
Advancing to the next room and turning
my side toward tho mass of iron,
precisely as in the first instance, I extended
one arm across the top and lifted
it from the floor, tho dctectivo giving
ntteranco to a gasp of amazement.
But a strange tiling impressed itself
upon my consciousness?tho sufe was
heavier than before. What could be the
cause? I was the only one in America
that had tho combination, aud 1 had
added naught to its contents.
I started to walk round tho room, but
tho burden was so great that when half
way across I abruptly retraced my steps,
setting the massive structure back in
place with a bang that shook tho upper
Nevertheless it was a most astonishing
feat, and Detective Cono declared it
surpassed everything of which ho had
ever heard.
"Just one more demonstration."
"I shall do nothing else of that nature,"
I said, thrilled by a shivering
fear that I had already dono too much.
"Very well, and I thank you for your
kindness. I would give $1,000,000 if it
were mine for that gift, which is one of
tho marvels of tho century."
"Of what good is superior strength?
The most dangerous desperado of whom
I ever heard was a youth in Texas,
whom a schoolboy could handle, but he
was lightning with the revolver. Man's
brain enables him to make all the forces
of nature his servants. It is the brain
that is king."
' 'But, all the same, the power of a
lion is a handy thing to have about the
"There may be instances in which it
is convenient, but tho possessor is liable
to presume upon it to a fatal extent. I
can see now that if Tom Discoe had
known how easily I could vanquish him
he never would have given me the
chance. If he is acquitted, I shall be at
his mercy." !
"Simply because he never would permit
me to get within reach of him. I
cannot handle a pistol like him, and,
Btanding off at a safe distance, he could
Bhoot me at his leisure without my being
able to help myself.''
"As to Tom and Jake, it doesn't look
as if they will gaze upon the blue em- j
pyrean vault for an indefinite number
of years to come. They have been at
this business for ten years, and the officers
have been on their trait for half
that time. The counterfeits which they
have issued are as dangerous as those
that Uhlrich used to engrave and almost
equal to those made by that Jersey genius
with his pen."
"Are they the only ones in this particular
"It is believed there is a third, but
the officers haven't been able to locate
him. 1 thought you wore tue missing
"Did any one share that flattering
"Marshal Welling agreed with me.
When he found you had bound and
taken Discoe prisoner, he weakened."
* 'Not, however, to the extent of failing
to arrest me."
"He meant to be on the safe side.
He's now your best friend and greatest
"What do you apprehend will be the
result of all this?"
"The two prisoners will be brought
to trial and of course found guilty. The
term of neither will be less than 20
"Why shall I be needed as a witness?"
"I am not sure you will, since there
is plenty of evidence to convict without
yours. Besides, since the district attorney
is convinced of your innocence, he
will be willing, owing to your position
in society, to avoid attaching any possible
suspicion to you, as would be the
case if you had to explain the singular
part you played."
Let me anticipate by saying that it
came out precisely as Detective Cone
prophesied. Discoe and Hukc were convicted
and sentenced to 20 years in the
penitentiary, and, so far as the publio
was concerned, it never learned of my
connection with the business.
After the departure of the detective I
sat for some minutes in deep thought
A vast, disquieting dread had come upon
What was the explanation of that
safe growing intolerably heavy while I
was carrying it around the room?
I recalled the solemn words of Professor
Qorgensen uttered years before
when he warned me against making
idle display of my miraculous gift.
Could it be that my breakage of the
rule obeyed so long had brought its punishment?
I was alone. Stepping softly into the
next room, as if afraid of being overheard,
1 again approached the huge
iron structure. Extending my arm as
before, I slightly bent my knees and
lifted with all my might
I could no more budge the mass of
metal than if I were a child of 0 years.
Where was my marvelous gift?
It had gone from me.
S?y Old Sam Kalleton was doubtless
ane of the most ardent legislators
known to the history of Arkansaw.
Every bill introduced by a well-dressed
man he looked upon with suspicion,
and never failed to suggest an amendment.
One morning, after a night's
carousal, he entered the legislative
hall just as the chaplain was asking
jivine aid. The old man took a chew
af tobacco and listened attentively until
the chaplain closed his petition with
in effective recitation of the Lord's
"Mr. Speaker," said the old man,
arising, "I move to strike out the words
daily bread' and insert'as much bread
t ^ * oa
as may oy iouiiq Decessury iui
days.' We have already done enough
Tor the flood sufferers."
6The use of tea and coffee, says
an authority, who includes tobacco as
well, is injurious, and ought not to be
indulged in by those who seek to place
themselves in the best conditiou to resist
disease, because they belong in
the category of irritant drugs. These,
by rousing the vital forces to get rid
of the poison, provoke the action
which is mistakenly supposed to bean
added force, whereas this actiou is
only one of self-preservation. It will
readily be seen how much supporting
and building up of the system there is
in such substances by trying to live on
them to the exclusion of other things.
The result would prove the absurdity
of the idea.
? -
8?" A company has been organized
at Lacon, 111., for the breeding ofblack
and maltese cats. A farm of 160 acres
will be purchased, and in one year's
time it is expected that the number of
cats thereon will reach 10,000, increasing
to 100,000 in another 12 months.
The skins of such cats sell for about
15 cents apiece, and in raising them
in large numbers there is money in the
piswUancous grading.
Clever Political Allegory by Mr. J. A. Sullivan
of Amlergon.
From the Columbia Htatc.
Four aspirants for senatorial honors
stood reverently before the Oracle of
Destiny. The face of each was characterized
bv a tense expression of ex
pectancy not unmixed with awe. The
mepbistic fumes of some invisible hellbroth
rendered foul the atmosphere
aud caused John of Irby to sniff in
open disgust. Suddenly the voice of
the Oracle was heard :
"Who comes here in quest of knowledge
not to mortal known ?"
John of Irby advanced to the front.
"Four politicians are here, O Oracle,
humbly craving some information concerning
their political future."
"Their names."
"John of Irby, John of McLaurin,
John of Evans and John of Duncan."
"John of Irby," said the Oracle in
sepulchral tones, "have I your attention
"You have, 0 Oracle."
"What dost thou seek ?"
"A seat in the senate."
"What debars you?"
"There are others."
"Are they formidable?"
"I fear one because of his wonderful
ingenuity in forming combines."
"To whom dost thou refer?"
"To Joliu of McLaurin."
"You Ir-by saying that," interrupted
John of McLaurin, smiling at bis
own wit.
"Will you deny that a combine has
been formed ?" returned John of Irby
John of McLaurin smiled again.
"The only combine that I kuow anything
about," he replied, serenely, "is
a combination of the honest voters of
this state who will cast their ballots in
the next election in a way sadly discomfitting
to the erstwhile senator
from South Carolina."
"And that election will result in me
being commissioned junior senator
from this state," cried John of Evans,
with a grandiloquent flourish.
"What's that about commissions?"
queried John of Duncan, who had
failed to hear all of the Aiken man's
"Who said anything about commissions?"
retorted John of Evans with a
malignant scowl.
"Well, I'm sure you never did," returned
John of Duncan sweetly. "But
I rather think it false modesty on your
part. Won't you tell us about it?"
"Yes, do," echoed John of McLaurin,
interestedly ; "we are just Aiken
to hear."
Here the Oracle interposed. "Why
dost thou profane my place of habitation
with unseemly dissension? If
thou canst not properly comport thyselves,
away and leave me in peace."
Again John of Irby stepped forward.
"I assure you, 0 Oracle, of our heartfelt
sorrow for so far forgetting ourselves
as to engage in heated controimpair
in thv nrpucnrfl Wfi thoUffht
? ?J f o
| we were at Sumter."
UI like your tone and manner, John
of Irby," replied the Oracle kindly.
"You seem to bean honest man."
"Remember, 0 Oracle," cried John
of McLaurin, anxiously, "that line of
Longfellow's which says: 'Things
are not what they seem.'"
"Heed him not, 0 Oracle," cried
John of Irby, angrily. "He is a Democratic
heratic, conceived in the womb
of treason and brought forth as a
child of Reform."
John of McLaurin became livid with
rage. "You iniquitious old imbecile,"
he shouted. "You bibulous blatherskite,
bred on bluff, braggadocia and
bluster. You,?you,?"
"Say, Irby, can't you stop the mouth
of that alliterative ass," interposed
John of Evans, initably.
"Shut up, you nondescript nodule
on the neck of Nonenity," cried John
of McLaurin, shaking his finger at
John of Evans.
"Ha! ha! ha !" laughed John of
Duncan in wild delight. "Hit him
again, Mac."
"Why should I hit such a hiatus of
the genus homo ?" replied John of
McLaurin in bitter scorn.
"Get out!" shouted John of Evans,
furiously. "You've had your head in
the public trough long enough. You'd
like to gobble up everything, including
the husks."
"You needn't talk about gobbling
up everything in the public trough,
even the husks," retorted John of McLauriu
with a bitter sneer. "When
you took your head out not even a
lthind could be found."
"Punch his head, Evans," cried
John of Irby, loudly. "He's trying
to rake up the dead past and air your
"You are right," returned John of
McLaurin, emphatically. "I wouldn't
endanger my me Dy loucmug uu?
man's record until it had been thoroughly
aired. In its natural, rawstate
it smells to heaven."
"Why don't you try and have a
duty placed on raw records?" suggested
John of Irby, sarcastically. "You
are so bitterly opposed to free raw
"There is nothing known to science
that would compete with his record,"
replied John of McLauriu, acidly,
"and where no competition exists a
duty is not necessary."
"At this maltreating of his political
past John of Evans foamed with rage.
"You're a pretty fellow," he howled,
"to be scuttling other people's records.
What about your own ? You are a
protectionist, a rank, old protectionist.
I intend to show you up on the stump,
and I will illustrate with this crash
suit of mine the fallacy of your socalled
plea for the protection of southern
"I would discard that crash suit if I
were you," returned Johu of McLaurin,
with an inscrutable smile.
"No doubt you would prefer me to,"
retorted John of Evans. "Don't let it
frighten you, my boy."
"I am not frightened at all; I only
fear for you."
"Why, pray ?"
"Well, it strikes me that a crash
suit is rather out of season for a man
destined so soon to be snowed under."
With a face distorted by rage John
of Evans started towards John of McLaurin
with the evident intention of
pulverizing him. John of Irby shouted
to the Aiken man to wade in and
win and be would stand off and. see it
well done. John of Duncan sternly
informed John of Irbv that the fieht
had to be fairly fought and the man
who attempted to interfere would
have to interview the cyclopean corporealty
of Duncan. A real, interesting
"scrap" seemed imminent. Both
combatants bad waited in vain for
somebody to step between them.
Round and round they circled looking
for an opening. Evans wore a bicycle
face and crash trunks made of some
free, raw material; McLaurin was
well protected by a sense of duty and
knickerbockers made of Egyptian cotton.
"Just let me get one good punch at
that mug of yours," panted John of
Evans, "and I'll bet that not even
your dear Appelt will be able to recognize
"All I want is an uppercut," returned
John of McLaurin, calmly, "and
I'll guarantee that squedunks will
siug no more on the stumps of Carolina."
At this juncture the voice of the oracle
thundered forth : "Cease wrangling,
pitiful mortals,pind listen to the
decree of the Oracle of Destiny."
Instantly all was silent and tense
expectancy was again writ on every
feature. The Oracle proceeded iu
tones of calm assurance: "Thou art
<1 nviymc tn lrnniv what, the future has
iu store for thee, Listen ! The next
senator from South Carolina will be
the candidate who had the least idea
of being elected. I have spoken.
Away !"
For a second there was a silence;
deep, heavy, oppressive silence. Then,
with a sigh of unutterable relief, John
of Evans cried: "I'm the man, I'm
the man ; for so help me God, I had so
little hope of being I just did file my
pledge in time to make the race."
"Well, I'm afraid you are wrong,
my dear boy," said John of Irby, with
a facetious grin. "I'm dead sure for
the senate, because I entered the race
not with any idea of being elected,
but to keep Mac from grabbing the
prize. Now don't say colonel any
more, call me senator," and John of
Irby chuckled with glee.
"It amuses me to hear you fellows
talK," saia Joan or ouncau, wuu a
smile. "When I filed my pledge there
was no idea more remote from my
mind than that of being elected. I
am not a candidate in the true sense
of the term, but the Nemesis of my
gifted young friend, John of Evans.
My sole purpose was to compass his
defeat by narrating from stump to
stump what he is pleased to call ancient
history. Senator Duncan?ahem?
sound sail right."
"He that expecteth nothing shall not
be disappointed," began John of McLaurin
in solemn tones.
"I wonder what devilment he's got
fixed up now," muttered John of
Irby, suspiciously.
"My dear friends," continued John
of McLaurin," shaking with laughter,
"by your own statements you will be
overwhelmingly defeated. The idea
Oracle said the man who had least of
being elected would be the lucky one.
All of you confess to having entered
the race with little hope of success,
but forgetting that the Oracle's decree
must necessarily hold good until the
votes are counted, every man of you
has predicted his own election. You
might be in it if the Oracle had said
that the man who has now the least
idea of being elected will be our next
senator. You should have remained
hopeless of success until the votes had
been counted. 'The next senator from
South Carolina will be the man who
had least idea of being elected,' so
says the Oracle. Now, where are you
Consternation o'er spread the countenances
of the three Johns who had
spoken too quickly. They realized
bitterly how neatly they had been
trapped. Suddenly an expression of
cunning illumined the face of John of
Evans. "Well, Mac," he said, with a
pitiful attempt at jocularity, "since we
have been so effectively squelched, I
suppose nothing remains but to congratulate
you on your coming election."
John of McLaurin raised his head
and gazed squarely at John of Evans.
"Do you see any emerald in ray optics,"
he queried. "No, no, my dear friends,
if you have any congratulations to
offer go to Mayfield." (Exit of John
of Irby shrieking "combine," followed
by John of Evans, dumb with rage,
and John of Duncan gaily whistling
the "Rogue's March.").
J. A. Sullivan.
Andorson, S. C.
An Independent Lawyer. ? A
lawyer, with Ins client, called one day
at the oflice of a gentleman who is
considered to be one of the leading
men of the Philadelphia bar. The
lawyer had an important case, and he
wanted to take the legal big gun in as
adviser. He explained his busiuess
and said he and the client would be
back in the afternoon. "I won't be
here then," said the legal giant. "I
have an engagement at 3 o'clock, and
I won't be here after that hour."
"But there is a $5,000 fee in this for
you," explained the younger lawyer.
"Cun't help it. I won't be here. You
will have to come tomorrow."
"But my client can't come tomorrow."
"Well, I can't break my engagement,"
said the senior. After some
further talk it was agreed that a meeting
be held that night. That after
noon, having nothing else to do, the
young lawyer and his client went to a
ball game. The first man they saw
inside the grounds was the great lawyer,
who was hurrahing for the "Phillies"
with all the vigor of his lungs.
That was his important engagement.
Needless to say the lawyer's practice
nets him enough money each year to
make him independent.?Philadelphia
How a Few Men Control the United States
Mall Contracts.
Cincinnati Enquirer.
From 40 to 60 per cent, of the star
mail route business, which costs the
government about $6,000,000 a year,
is held by shrewd contractors who
live in or near the little mountain
town of London, the seat of Laurel
county, Kentucky.
It is likewise not generally known
perhaps that the contracts for carrying
the United States mail through the
streets of such cities as Brooklyn,
Newark, New Haven, Altanta, Vicksburg,
Louisville, Detroit, Sacramento,
Kansas City, Jacksonville, Salt Lake,
Milwaukee, and so on, are also held
by citizens of this same little town of
1,200 inhabitants, which, until a few
years ago, was nearly 200 miles from a
The star routes are those over
which the mail is transported by stage
line, horseback, afoot or in private
conveyance. At the close of the last
fiscal year there were
Of these star routes in the United
States. The other contracts referred
to come under the wagon, or screen
service, where the contractors transfer
the mails from the postoffice to the
railway stations.
In addition to the larger cities already
named, London men hold contracts
for the cities of Lewiston, Me.;
Springfield, Mass.; Bridgeport, Conn.;
Harrisburg, Penn.; Dubuque, Norfolk,
Montgomery, Knoxville, Mobile,
Selma, Vicksburg, Canton, Bloomington,
Little Rock, Wichita, Charleston,
and many others scattered throughout
the entire country. The London
star routers do a more general business,
holding thousands of contracts
in every state in the Union, from
Maine to California, and from Michigan
to Louisiana.
The history and operations of the
mountain combine, which shortly after
the war actually held 87 per cent,
of the star route contracts of the
country, are interesting. Some members
of the company frequently made
more money, year in and year out,
than the president was paid, and a
number of them are now numbered
among the rich men of Kentucky.
Leading pioneers in the industry were
ex-Congressman Frank Finley, now
living at ease in a beautiful home at
Williamsburg, Ky.; Judge Vincent
nf T.nnrinn ftlan
wealthy, and a prospective candidate
to succeed Congressman D. G. Colson; !
Judge Robert Boyd, of London, one
of the richest men in Kentucky, and '
Hon. R. D. Hill, one of the formidable
applicants for the position of United |
States district attorney under President
McKinley. Of these Judge Boreing
In mail routes. In the younger generation?worthy
chips from the old
blocks?are ex-State Senator Ed. Parker,
who ran up against the PlattQuay
combine as a candidate for Sergeant-at-Arms,
W. B. Catching, W. H.
Steele, P. F. Stillings, J. C. Johnson,
H. P. Brown, J. L. Yaden, J. M. Bore- i
ing and E. A. Chilton, all of London.
The heavy operations of the oldtimers
began witb tbe organization of
the "Southern Mail and Transportation
company," made up principally
of London and Williamsburg men.
This was just at the close of the war.
Prior to that time Judge Finley and a
few other individuals had bandied
small star routes here and there witb
eood success and, recognizing the ex
traordinary possibilities of the business,
organized to put into effect a
scheme of huge proportions. Their
intentions were no more nor less than
to bid for the entire lot of contracts,
sublet them to second parties, let the
subcontractors do the hard work and
the members of the company draw
the surplus, which has to be in fancy
figures. The United States was divided
into four postal districts, as it is today,
and the star route contracts for
the four districts were made to run
four years, expiring alternately, so that
bids for one of the four would be taken
every year.
The Southern Mail and Transportation
company, having carefully investigated
the cost of carrying the routes
in various sections of the country,
went into business with a bold front,
and the knowledge that there were
few competitors in the field was, of
course, not used in the interest of the
United States treasury. The company ,
In a quarter section of the country.
The bids were not made as a company, i
but as a series of firms. Smith & Jones '
would bid on a lot of routes, Brown & j
Bender on a lot and Jones & Smith on 1
others, all bids, however, under one I
general management. The reason, for
this is unique. If the government '
awarded a route for four years for 1
$10,000 the contractor had to make a I
bond good for double that sum to the
government. Had the Southern Mail '
and Transportation company, as an '
organization, secured $1,000,000 worth <
ot contracts 11 couia not nave maae
bonds good for $2,000,000; but if Smith
& Jones made a $20,000 contract their <
friends, Brown & Bender, could go on I
their bonds, and when Brown & Ben- I
der made a similar contract their i
friends, Smith & Jones, would be their I
bondsmen. By this scientific method j
of seesawing an aggregate capital of 1
$100,000 could be made as farreaching 1
as the mantle ot chanty, lie it remembered,
too, that the contractors
ran no risk in making such bonds, for
while the government demanded bond
of twice the amount of the consideration
of the original contract, when the
professional star-router sublet it he
exacted from the gentleman who was
to do the work a gilt-edged bond of
four times the amount of the bid, this
bond being made to the government
and according to its rigid exactions.
Such were the plans of the Southern
Mail and Transportation company,
and for years it sailed along
smoothly. Every year it harvested
_ _i _i_ _ r A 1 i A. At
a rice crop 01 routes inrougnout toe
Through shrewd corps of traveling
agents, and then awaited another letting.
The government and the subcontractor
did the rest. Every three
months the United States treasurer
sent the subcontractor his share of the
pay and remitted the balance to the
original bidder at bis home in the Kentucky
These enterprising men thought no
more of bidding on all the mail routes
in Maine, Michigan, New York and
California than they did of taking a
two-mile contract near their own villages,
nor did they hesitate about tackling
the fancy work, in the big cities.
At times the Kentuckians held every
contract for carrying the mails in cities
like New York and Boston, as they
now hold them in Brooklyn. The
greatest profit, however, come from
the country business and from the
mountains, where they had no competition
at all. Mail routes through the
highlands of the Carolinas, Virginia,
Kentucky and other states brought
them many thousands of dollars. A
favorite method was to sublet contracts
to "circuit riding" preachers,
who made regular trips horseback, and
who would carry the mails for almost
any sum they could get, frequently for
less than one-tenth the amount the
star routers were receiving for the
It is difficult to tell just how much
money was made out of the business,
and in a manner perfectly legitimate,
in its rosy days, but hints here and
there give
One route of 36 miles in Michigan,
which bad a mail each way every day,
was awarded to contractors for $6,000
a year, or $24,000 for the life of the
contract. It was sublet to a liveryman
at just one half the sum. The
liveryman killed 40 horses and sunk a
lot of cash besides trying to get rich on
the job. An old traveling agent, now
out of the business, says he has let
many a contract at a profit of 75 per
cent, to his employers.
William Harding, of London, is one
of the veteran route agents. He has
been in the service of the big contractors
for 30 years and is still a smooth
band in the business, which he says
has now about gone the way of many
other good things. Harding has been
.L- TT_:?? t:
id every staie iu me uuiuu uuo auu
again, dealing with subcontractors, and
bas cashed checks in every county
seat in the United States where there
is a national bank.
Of the younger set of professional
3tar-routers, W. B. Catching, of London,
is probably the most successful.
He is not yet in the neighborhood of
30, but he bas an old head. A few
years ago CatchiDg was a subordinate
of one of the old star-route kings, and
in this way mastered the science.
Then be got bold of a little money, a
thousand or so, and went to bidding
routes on his own book. He was
shrewd and bold, and "his success has
been phenomenal. How much he has
made nobody knows. Some say that
at times bis profits approximated $60,000
a year. He built the Catching
Block, at London, at a cost of $75,000.
bas lived well and is rated high,
,,T' ? ?.UortwIrvflAn Hfoo oiorfo^ fnr a
tT UBIi H auuat;iipiiuu tim ciuikvu ivi u
big school at London Catching was
approached and
For $10,000 or $15,000 as quietly as he
would have given a dollar. Catching,
like his successful predecessors, transacts
the larger portion of his business
from an unpretentious little office in
Ed. Parker, another brilliant young
operator, has also made his pile. In
the mountains they will tell you that
thirty thousand a year is not the
measure of his income. He, too, was
a product of the Kentucky mountains,
and learned the art in the service
of the veterans. He had brains
and nerve, and is still in the game.
Parker has lived well, and his fondness
for politics, state and national,
has cost him some thousands. He was
the leader in the revolt against Dr.
Hunter, the nominee of the Republican
senatorial caucus at Frankfort in
March, and has been prominent in
other party affairs.
While many large fortunes have
been made in the star route speculation,
much money has also been lost,
and not a few of the mountain operators
sank their thousands in unfortunate
contracts. The business is
a science, and the novice is in great
danger of burning his fingers the first
time be tacKies me scneauie. in me
last 10 years professional star routers
have sprung up all over the country.
At every letting the competition is
warmer and the margius more closely
Irawn. The "land-office" business of
the famous old Southern Mail and
Transportation company is now a
thing of the past. Within a few years
the contractor will earn all he gets out
of the routes.
J6T Life does not come to us all at
one time; it comes only a day at a
time. Even tomorrow is never ours
till it becomes today, and we have
nothing whatever to do with it but
to pass down to it a fair and a
^ood inheritance in today's work
well done and todays life well

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