Newspaper Page Text
[Written for the Herald.]
_A_ FK/EF-A-CIE. BY JOHN W. HANNAY. Within these page« I expose, Such fancies as, unbidden, rose From time to time within my mind. In reading them, mayhap, you'll find A few good verses here and there, The gleanings of a mass of tare ; But, surely, as some painting fine Betrays in its minutest line The skillful hand from which it sprung : So surely have I left among These scattered fragments some small part Of mine own sélf, that inner heart, Which, once alone with God and you, Apart from others, out of view, And freed from Custom's iron band. Controls your mind and guides your hand. Such glimpses as these lines afford To those who know me will accord But ill at times with their idea Of what I am, but, written here, Ascribed to others though they be, Are thoughts which once were part of me. [Written for the Herald*] PILGRIM AND PIONEER. A COLLOQUY. The popular mode of ascertaining the true inwardness of public men on leading ques tions, by means of the colloquial interview, may be used in the following dialogue to get at the information sought after every day by innumerable letter writers asking almost as many questions about Montana as there are tastes and occupations among men. But be fore we begin it will be neccessary to state that the Pilgrim, in Montana parlance, is the fresh arrival or "tender-foot" who has just landed and has not yet been admitted to the brotherhood of the Old Timers, or Pioneers, and thus interrogates one of the veterans of the Herald contributing force : Pilgrim—When did you come to this coun try ? Reporter—I came as one of the gold seek ers who was present when the Fairweather District was organized on Alder creek in June, 1863. P.—Did you find plenty of gold ? R.—Yes, Alder Gulch, where Virginia City now stands, was one of the richest finds ever made in the world, and produced thirty mil lions of gold dust in the first three years, anc. to the present time about fifty millions, anc it is yet a rich mining camp. P.—Was gold found in any other parts of Montana? A.—Yes; many places became famous at once for the vast yield of gold from placer mines, for the prospectors as early as 1864 and 1865 had their noses into every gulch, bar and mountain in the whole country. The most noted of these placers were Last Chance, where Helena, the Capital, now stands, Con federate, Silver Bow, Ophir and German gulches, Elk creek, Bear, Lincoln, Nelson, and Highland gulches, and New York, Cave and Montana Bar and numerous other places as far west as Cedar creek in the Cœur d' Alene Mountains. In the fall of 1866 a four mule team hauled to Fort Benton for trans portation down the Missouri river two and one-half tons of gold, worth one and a half million dollars, nearly all of which was taken from Montana Bar (a piece of ground only a few acres in extent) during that summer. There has been altogether shipped from Montana at least one hundred and fifty mil lion dollars in gold dust. P.—I didn't think that a man could live in Montana as long as you have and not be kill ed by the Indians. Have you ever encountered these murderous savages ? R.—Yes, I used to have a tilt with them in early times, but now it is safer to travel upon the public thoroughfares in Montana than in Ohio and Pennsylvania, where you are liable to be knocked in the head by a tramp for what little money you may have about you. P.—Have you any tramps in Montana ? R.—Not one ; the climate is not healthy for such drones as these, for the discovery of a professional tramp by the Vigilantes would ensure his elevation upon the venerable tree that has been so often decorated with Road Agents in the early days. P.—Vigilantes ! Road Agents ! Who are they ? R-—Why, the Road Agents here were an organized band of murderers, cut-throats and robbers who infested the mountain passes and waylaid the honest miner as he sought a market for his hard-earned nug gets, or a place of supplies for his winter's grub, and the Vigilantes were an organized committee of public safety composed of the truest and best men in the Territory to rid the country by the shortest mode possible of these treacherous villians, and they did it, too ; for many a fine morning in the year 1864, after a "good drop," there were to be seen hanging by the neck such miscreants as Boon Helm, Jack Gallagher, Frank Parish, Haze Lyon, Club-foot George, Buck Stinson and others. P*—Have you any Road Agents now ? R-—No, they were either killed or fled the country by the time the courts were organ ized and justice was ^neeted out by due process of law. After the overthrow of the Road Agents the dark days of Montana were passed and peaceful pursuits have taken the place of anarchy and crime, business flourishes and fields, homes and mines are now the scenes of industry and thrift, where "Peace bare the door Content pate oat the lamp. And sleep, happv sleep, Fills up the residue of night." p.—As your Road Agents tire either dead or fled the country, I suppose you have no longer any Vigilantes ? A.—But we have, though, all the same, for you know that an ounce of [prevention is better than a pound of cure, and if there be a restive spirit in any part of Montana who might be tempted to "take the road" there is also the true Vigilante ready to post the mys tic figures 3-7-77 for a meeting to enforce the process of "habeas corpus." P.—Wont you tell us something about your great Bonanzas ? R-Well, although the placer diggings in all parts of the Territory still pay very well, yet they don't hold a candle to the great discov eries of gold and silver quartz mines which now produce such vast amounts of these metals. Why, there is one gold bonanza, the Penobscot, discovered by Nate Vestel, and the Blue Bird, Belmont, Hickey, Gloster, Piegan, Whip-poor-will and many other ex tensions of the Snow Drift, near Helena, that would make millionaires of us both if we could only get a single run from the group. In another district, about eight miles from Helena, there is the Bonanza Chief, a gold mine lately discovered by the Rader boys and sold the other day to the Alta Mon tana Mining Company for a large sum, which is reported to be richer than the Penobscotr In fact the gold quartz mines all over the Territory, from the great Cable lode on the west to the Iron Rod and other rich mines in the Trapper and Bryant district on the south, are so many that without pencil and paper I could not give you a correct idea of them. You may be surprised, but from what I tell you of the silver mines you will discover that there are greater bonanza kings among the silver people in Montana than among the gold hunters. P.—Who is first among them ? R.—Well, there is A. J. Davis, of Butte, the sole owner of the Lexington, in that camp, who turns out as a regular thing his thirty thousand dollars per month, and I don't know how much more from his other leads in the same district. The Walker Brothers, owners of the Alice mine and its extensions, at Wal kerville, have another bonanza in silver which would fairly make your head swim if you only knew the "true inwardness" of their great works. Iu fact, there are a hundred silver leads at Butte which justly entitle that place to the name of the chief silver city of Montana. But an attempt to enumerate the many silver mines that furnish the great bulk of the bullion shipped from the Terri tory, which this year exceeds probably six millions of dollars, would take more time than I have to give to this casual interview. But, before we part, there is the Mantle lode, discovered in that famous gold belt of the Boulder since I was on that side, which ru mor says is a "big thing," and runs up into the thousands from a single ton of quartz. P.—How about coal and other minerals ? R.—Coal ! There is enough in Montana to heat up the whole human race for the space of a thousand years, even if they were obliged to live upon "Greenland's icy mountains." Jack Hobart and Billy Barton, near Helena, and Captain Chestnut, near Bozeman, have struck the bituminous very rich. As for cop per, iron and lead, they are all abundant and abound everywhere—copper especially at Butte, and lead in all the silver districts throughout the Territoiy, and especially in the silver mines of the Red Mountain and Jefferson districts, near Helena. P.—Why, what haven't you got ? R.—We have got no fever and ague, no chills nor asthma. P.—But living in the mountains, as you say, where do your farm products come from? R.—Come from ! Why, there is never a mountain without a valley, and these valleys are so numerous in Montana that they make up fifteen millions of acres of the very rich est arable lands, some of them ten, fifteen and thirty miles wide, every foot of which is cultivatable by machinery. P.—Are these lands all taken up or culti vated? R.—No; the present production of wheat is only about three hundred thousand sacks of flour, being an average of twenty-five bushels to the acre on thirty thousand acres. If the whoie fifteen millions of arable land were cultivated, say one-fifth in wheat, two fifths in oats and barley, one-tenth in corn, one-tenth in potatoes, one-tenth in peas (upon which pork Is made) and one-tenth in vege tables, there would be an annual yield of thirty millions of bushels of wheat, three hundred million bushels of oats and barley, sixty million bushels of corn, three hundred million bushels of potatoes, forty-eight mil lion bushels of peas and six billion pounds of vegetables. Besides the dairy products, the fruits and the small marketing, as it is called, there would come annually from the thirty-eight million acres of grazing lands five hundred thousand head of fat bullocks and two or three millions of sheep—enough to sustain a population of six millions with an abundant surplus to make that many men, women and children the thriftiest and hap piest people on earth. The principal valleys are the Yellowstone, Gallatin, Madison, Jef ferson, Muscleshell, Judith basin, Deer Lodge, Missouri, Prickly Pear, Bitter Root, Jocko, Big Hole, Hellgate, Blackfoot, Dear born, Teton, Marias, Milk river, and Sun river. P.—Why, how big a country have you, anyway? R.— Montana is five hundred miles long and three hundred miles wide, and is bigger than all New England and New York State put together, and England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland combined do not equal it in size. It embraces all that area between the 45th and 49th parallels of north latitude and the 104th and 116th meridians of west longi tude, and although our parallels reach high up in the forties, we have the same latitude as parts of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Oregon, France and Switzerland, and we are south of Great Britain, Belgium, Prussia, Norway and Sweden. P.—How about investments ? R.—Aside from the great fortunes that are made in the sale and ownership of the many rich mines of various kinds, the business of cattle, sheep and horses come next, and prob ably, as a steady thing, either of the latter would be preferable to the risk in mines. The cattle, you know, graze winter and summer without other feed than the native bunch grass upon the public domain, and cost noth ing for shelter, as they are never housed, and at a cost of about three dollars a head for branding and herding, they are prepared for the butcher's block (a home market), where they bring $25 each, or are driven to Eastern markets—Chicago, for instance—where they sell for from $40 to $60 per head. The regu lar profit in cattle after the third year is fully twenty-five per cent. In sheep it is about thirty-three per cent, from the first year, af ter the expenses of the shepherd, housing and hay, which is provided in case of storms or deep snows. Horses, the same as cattle, shift for themselves, and yield a similar profit. P.—Do your farmers (or ranchmen as you call them) find a ready market for all they raise, and are they well paid for their labor, and have they the elements in their favor, or are they discouraged by drouths, floods, pests, scarcity of fuel, labor, uncertain crops, ex cessive cold or deep snows? R.—Well, as your questions cover the whole subject of farm life in the mountains, I will be as general in my replies. In the first place, you know that it is only within the last seven years that Montana has raised flour enough for bread for her people. Before that time there were very few in the great scramble for gold who would stop long enough to drop a seed or turn a furrow, but now the Terri tory is self-supporting and raises a surplus of wheat and other products to supply the army, Indian agencies and public institutions within our borders with flour, vegetables, beef, etc. The wheat crop is always abundant except when a visitation of grasshoppers come early enough to catch it before the milk, but this is seldom, and only in a few localities, which, while it tends to cripple the individual, notice ably strengthens the markets elsewhere and cuts no perceptible figure in the regular law of supply and demand. The past jear there has not been a 'hopper in the Territory. The quality of wheat is very fine an4 is known as the White Siberian and \ÿhite Touse, and other varieties of white spïlng wheat, usually sown in April and B£aÿ (sometimes in Febru ary), and yields forty to sixty bushels per acre and always weighs over sixty pounds to the bushel. The White Blue-stem and other win ter wheats have been extensively and success fully cultivated. The price—1$ to 2 cents per pound, or $2.50 to $3.00 per sack. Oats and barley yield enormously—from sixty to seventy-five bushels to the acre,—the oats weighing forty pounds to the bushel. There is nothing raised on the farm but what com mands a ready sale for cash, and probably there is no place in the world where farm products command such good prices, and where farmers live so comfortably on so few hours of labor. The ranchman, therefore, is always an honorable, thrifty and indepen dent nobleman, with prosperous crops, and always a hundred or more cattle or horses upon the range to swell his bank account. The ranchman of Montana is not the dull, plodding worker that you might suppose. He hires his labor at from $30 to $40 per month, lives liberally, markets his products, watches his brands, and round-ups. The dairyman, with a few hundred cattle, will milk a hun dred cows, which subsist most of the year upon the range without any cost except the wages of the cheese and butter makers and milkers. Butter is 25 to 50 cents per pound, always 40 to 50 cents for table butter. Cheese, 14 to 18 cents, wholesale. Farm lands, im proved, sell at $10 per acre and pre-emption lands at $1.25 per acre, and homesteads at the cost of land office fees which do not ex ceed $20 per quarter section. Large tracts of land—the beat of land—are being taken up under the desert land law, which allows 640 acres under one location, provided that running water be conveyed so as to cover it, and the payment of $1.25 per acre within three years. The climate is delightful for most of the year, there being sometimes 250 days calm, clear, mild weather, no excessive rains or floods, and nearly every day in the year fit for comfortable out-door work. No epidemic sickness, no hurricanes, or great storms. There is every facility for the most productive farming, irrigating from the many mountain streams when there is not enough rain or dampness from the winter's snow. Plenty of wood, without cost, for fuel, fenc ing and building ; and above all, the health fulness of the people is so remarkable that it begets a desire for out-door labor, amuse ments and sports, Speaking of sports, there is probably no portion of the United States that furnishes anything like the deer-shoot ing that is found in Montana to-day, and the same may be said of elk, moose, bear, buffa lo, antelope, mountain sheep, wild geese, ducks, brant, grouse, and other small game. Only a month ago Mr. John Jamison, an Irish gentleman who for several years has crossed the ocean for his fall hunt in Mon. tana, came in with his party of four persons' having killed a large number of deer, elk, antelope and twenty-eight black, brown and grizzly bears, some of these monsters weigh ing as much as twelve hundred pounds. The hay lands produce well and abound in all the valleys and low lands and furnish hay that preserves its original green color throughout the year, and which is not bleached or browned by heavy dews. Price, eight to twelve dollars per ton. Grazing and hay lands require no irrigation. Labor is well rewarded. Farm hands get from $30 to $40 per month, the man-of-all-work from $2 to $3 per day and skilled mechanics $5 to $6 per day. Female labor, (cooks in private families,) $80 per month. P.—Have you facilities for education, and are there plenty of schools ? R.—The public school standard is better in Montana than of the other Territories. The public schools are successfully established in every county, and besides these, there are convents and Catholic schools in several of the counties, especially at Helena, the Capital, and also other select schools, and one college at Deer Lodge. The taxes in most of the counties are very light— generally 18 mills, some 30 mills. In terest upon money, as per contract. Where no rate is agreed upon the law fixes ten per cent., and business is generally done for cash. There is a homestead exemption to every citizen, free from sale and execution of 160 acres of land, or a town lot and improve ments not exceeding in value $2,500. There are plenty of rivers and beautiful lakes, wa ter powers, hot springs, and churches in and about all the principal towns and settlements; also daily and weekly newspapers, and telegraphic communication with the States and "the rest of mankind" by the Western Union, and Military telegraph lines, which connect all the military posts with the head quarters of the department at St. Paul ; mails and express matter daily from the States by Gilmer & Salisbury's Overland coaches and the Pacific Express Company ; National and piivate banks at Helena, Deer Lodge, Butte, Virginia City, Missoula, Bozeman, Miles City, Fort Benton and Bannack. Proper laws for the protection of game at certain seasons and trout in all the mountain streams. The roads are natural and very fine. Farm lands are watered by a simple process of irrigation, during the growth of the crops, from creeks, rivers and mountain streams, at a cost not exceeding fifty cents per acre each year. Fencing is mostly done with pine poles, ard saw and grist mills are convenient to all the settlements. The Wonderland of the National Park is accessible from Helena, Bozeman and Virgina City. P.—How is immigration to get to this new and beautiful country which I shall ever look upon as free America? R.—By steamboat to Fort Benton, on the Missouri river, and steamboat up the Yellowstone. By the Union Pacific railroad from Omaha and the Utah and Northern from Ogden, and Overland coaches or private conveyances. The latter railroad has its ter minus at Beaver Canon, 200 miles south of Helena. The Northern Pacific will soon reach Montana up the Yellowstone. Both of these roads will compete for the trade and commerce of Montana, and it won't be long till the immigrant will have all-rail routes to the Capital of our Territory. P.—Are not your altitudes so great that you are, as it were, in the "battle of the clouds?" R.—By no means. Nearly all the arable lands in the valleys average 500 to 2,000 feet lower than the most fertile ones of Colorado or Utah, and from tables prepared by Profes sor Hayden's survey we learn that 51,600 square miles in Montana have an altitude of less than 4,000 feet. Montana has valley and bench lands covering an area of 40,700 square miles at a less altitude than 3,000 feet, while neither Colorado, New Mexico, Utah or Wy oming contain an acre of surface as low as 3,000 feet. It is also found by these tables that the average height of Montana above the sea is 3,900 feet—that of Nevada 5,600, of New Mexico 5,660, of Wyoming 6,400 and that of Colorado 7,600 feet. P.—Are not your snows a drawback, and don't they prove too much for your stock that live out the whole year round without other shelter than is provided by the willows and brush found along your water courses ? R.—On the contrary, they are a blessing, and nourish and moisten the bunch grass so that it retains its nutriment while thus cover ed and feeds the stock, so that their loss in ordinary winters is not over one per cent. No, the snows temper and modify a climate that has no equal for its healthfulness on the face of the globe. However long the win ters are we have the compensating days of long sunshine at the summer solstice wnich hasten the promise that "seed time and har vest shall never fail." If deprived of the fickle rains that beautify and fructify the earth at other places and at uncertain seasons, the thirsting soil of Montana looks np to the surrounding peaks of eternal snow with an abiding faith that the reflecting rays of mid summer's sun will bring down the certain and desired supply of cool, clear water for its irrigation and profit. No ! ( The great rivers that drain the continent into the Atlantic and Pacific oceans are fed by these snows which are hid away up in the Rockies that overlook and beautfy every valley in Montana, and which hold iheir accumulated drifts upon their mountain tops so far above the dwellers in the plains that they better serve to nourish and enrich rather than to deceive and destroy. They are the fountains of every little rivulet that increases the ranchman's store or "pans out" the miner's gold. They fare the life of the Missouri and the Columbia, and by the providential distribution of their supply they furnish a wealth of water, navigable almost from one to the other. [To be continued in the next New Year's Number.] [Written for the Herald] MININGS FROM BALM ES. BY REV. J. G. V., S. J. Life is short, death is certain. A robust constitution, excellent health, may seem to promise many years of life ; yet these years are fast fleeting away, and sooner, perhaps, than we expect we shall have gone into the grave and shall know from experience what there is of truth In what religion teaches about the destinies of man in a future state. A man may reject religion, he may ridicule its teachings and refuse to be guided by its precepts; but doubt aDd ridicule change not the realities of facts. If there exists a world in which virtue is rewarded and vice punished, our denial of its existence will not destroy it ; neither will a man escape from future pun ishment because, during life, he imagined that future punishment was merely a fiction, invented by a disordered brain. The last hour will come. I will die. I will either re turn into nothingness or I will find myself confronting eternity. If what religion teaches about eternity should turn out true—what then ? It is plain that this is an affair of more than trifling importance. It is an affair that concerns me personally. No man will die for me ; no man will stand in my place in the other world, to be rewarded for my good ness or punished for what I have done amiss. A man comes and tells me : Eat, drink and make good cheer ; let no religious scruples stand in the way of pleasure ; religion is all nonsense! But who is he ? How has he become so much wiser than the rest of man kind ? By what process of reasoning has he arrived at the conclusion that it is wisdom to insult the most sacred sentiments of the hu man heart and to ridicule the traditions of our race ? Has he studied the subject of re ligion ? Has he studied it more thoroughly than other men who were wiser and perhaps better ? He calls these men fools ; that is easily said. Will it be as easy for him to convince the world that he is not a fool him self, as it says he is ? Must the human race have erred because he says so ? A traveler arrives at a dangerous river ; he must cross it ; on the banks of the river a crowd of people study the water's depth at different places ; he laughs at their fears and boldly plunges into the water without reflecting for a moment on the impetuosity of the current. Is such conduct rational ? Is it not indiffer ence about religion, simple folly, unworthy of a man who claims to be endowed with common sense? Seat yourself upon the tomb that awaits you and reflect that another year has just sunk into the ocean of eternity. * Be recollected. Meditate seriously. It can do you no harm. 3^onsrT!A.isr^. The Attractions to Home-seekers and Capitalists. Robert E. Strahorn, the well known west ern tourist and author of that superbly pre pared work, "To the Rockies and Beyond," treats of Montana at great length and with conspicuous ability and fidelity in his several widely-circulated publications. The follow ing extracts are from a recent number of his valuable paper, the The Hew West : "No section of our country at the present time offers greater inducements to immi grants than Montana. Its mineral resources, although as yet but imperfectly explored, are known to be inexhaustible, its gold and sil ver mines have yielded $150,000,000, and the annual yield since 1864 has averaged $8,500, 000. Over 20,000 lodes and 2,000 placer mines have been recorded. Alder Gulch, in which Virginia City is located, has alone poured out $40,000,000 in glittering dust, and is still yielding at the rate of $1,000,000 per year. Ores in many of the mines are so rich that they pay handsomely after being hauled 200 miles to the railway, and thence to Europe for reduction. Iron, coal, copper, lead, cin nabar, etc., are equally plentiful. "Nearly 40,000,000 acres of pastoral aud 16,000,000 acres of agricultural lands are found in this grand domain, not one-sixth of which is claimed or occupied. The native banch grass is a winter and summer feed equal to oats. Cattle, horses and sheep keep fat the year round in the open air. Meats are juicy, tender, and of unusually fine flavor, and the wool clip of 1,000,000 lbs. in 1878 was eagerly sought by Eastern buyers. Profits in the cattle or sheep business have always aver aged from two to three per cent, per month on all capital invested. Losses of cattle, sheep or horses on the range from all causes rarely reach and never exceed two per cent, per annum. Over 20,000 cattle were market ed in 1878 at an average of $22.50 per head, while the total cost of production was less than $3 per head. Montana now con tains 50,000 horses, 250,000 cattle, and 200, 000 sheep, few of which ever tasted hay or grain. Wheat, oats, rye, barley, and all hardy vegetables are produced in great abun dance and of quality unexcelled. Apples, pears, plums, grapes, Siberian crabs and nearly all small fruits are produced in differ ent localities. Yellow and white pine, spruce and cedar are abundant. Marble, granite, limestone and sandstone exist in inexhausti ble quantities. "Montana boasts the finest river and valley system in the world, having a dozen rivers as large and beautiful as the Mohawk or Juniata —three of which are navigable—and being bountifully watered by hundreds of ice-cold streams and crystal lakes; water-power is therefore illimitable. All streams are full of trouj and other fish, and elk, deer, antelope, moose, bear, mountain sheep and many kinds of small game abound. Numerous hot min eral springs and a mild invigorating atmos phere are among the attractions for health seekers. Population of the Territory, 35,000, a gain of 12,000 in two years ; assessed valu ation, $12,594,579; productions in 1878 of mines, farms, pasture land, etc., $16,000,000, or $450 for every man , woman and child in the Territory. The freighting businees em ploys 1,400 men, 8,500 animals and 2.500 wagons, and a total capital of $1.500,000. One bank at Helena did a cash business of $28,000,000 in 1878. Churches, schools, lib raries and good daily and weekly newspapers are more numerous than in sections of simi lar population East There is daily mail and express and the telegraph to all important peints."