Newspaper Page Text
Tuesday, October 18,: 1004.
A. PROGRESSIVE FARMER AND COTTON PLANT. ' '" ' ' " i . i ' - . ..I '. FOR BETTER PUBLIC ROADS. Mr. Daniel Suggests Methods by Which the Present System Could be Made More Helpful and Discusses the Best Plan of Government Aid. Messrs. Editors : If you will per mit me to express "my ignorance," a3 the boys say, I wil give you a few thoughts on the subject of roads. I have read with interest the va rious opinions on this subject ex pressed through The Progressive Farmer and other journals, and I have thought a great deal upon it. We practice the time-honored plan of "warning out the hands" and working (?) the roads two or three days in spring and fall. By this xnean3 we keep them in such shape that a stout wagon drawn by a pair of active mules driven by a person who has enjoyed acrobatic training, can generally tret over them: They never become bottomless. The bot tom is always in evidence and some times protrudes for from one to three feet. Now if the bottom aforesaid could only be pulverized and spread on the top we would have roads. But this we cannot do. "WARNING IN" HANDS. Many of the "road hands" are good mechanics, tmt not one of them can whittle out a crusher and engine to reduce the supearbundant material at hand to a condition fit for use. In some places we have a shale, than which no finer road material exists. It would only need to be hauled onto a well graded foundation to make -perfecJL.roads, .But by., the. time. we. get the loose stone picked out, the worst chug holes filled, and the most essential ditches opened, the time is all "put in" and we can go no farth er. In my judgment this whole system is as bad as it can be and should be replaced by a totally different and more business like plan. But it is easy to object. We have this system. Are we doing the best we can with it? I think not. In the first place, we all make road working a kind of frolic. You seldom see a man go at it with the same energy he puts into his own work. FOREMEN SHOULD CO-OPERATE. The foreman is one of us. Per haps we all feel that1 road work is an imposition. He calls us out be cause the law requires it. And we make a show of working more to avoid the penalty than to improve the road. Now if the men of a com munity who are or are likely to be foremen, could confer together and arrive at some definite plan, then each as their turn come9 work to ward that plan, I think much more good could be accomplished. For instance, suppose there are twelve men on the section. Select two of good judgment to go over thr section and repair local difficulties, " fill holes, throw out stone, open ditches and culverts, etc. The foreman take3 the other ten and beginning at some selected point prepares a good road, ditching, grad ing, and (if material ia at hand) metalling a place as long as his time and force can get over. The next foreman begins where he left off and carries it farther, and so on, each man leaving behind him a section as long as may be of good road. The difficulties in the way of car rying out this plan are, first, to get different men to agree on a plan of construction and a place of begin ning so that their work year by year would tend to make a continued piece of really good road. Second, to get the men to take' a live interest in road construction so that they will look forward to it and try to see how much they can do in the allotted time, rather than how little. TAXATION FOR ROAD-BUILDING. Now it seems to me that mainte nance -of highways should be by a tax imposed upon all and based on the value of property both real and personal. Thus the poor laborer who has no use for the roads, save to walk over them while living and be hauled over them when dead, need not pay so much as the wealthy land owner who makes large use of the highway or the liveryman who has a dozen teams on the roads every day whether he owns a foot of land or not. Not a man in city or country but is benefitted by good roads. The mil lionaire likes them to drive over. The manufacturer needs them for the easier transportation of both raw material and finished product. The merchant needs them in order that A more customers can Travel more miles with more products and more money to trade with him. Of course, the doctor needs them that he may make his visits day and night with greater speed, safety and comfort. I don't know about the lawyer,howev er. Better roads would keep the peo ple in better humor and there would not be quite so many quarrels to re sult in lawsuits. Perhaps he doesn't need them. But the rest of us sure ly do. GOVERNMENT AID. Now as to government aid in se curing this boon, I don't really be lieve in that doctrine, yet I notice that every other class that want something large call on the govern ment, and if they call loud enough and long enough they generally get it. River and harbor improvements railroad subsidies, irrigation ditches, forest reserves, ship canals, pension bils, naval vessels, coaling stations, etc., to say nothing of slices of con tinents and groups of islands, are paid for by the government, because some person, persons or class of per sons insist upon it and take the nec essary steps to get what they want. As to the wisdom of these purcha ses, I am not prepared to judge, but I do think that none of them can be of greater advantage to more of the people, and even to the government itelf, than good roads. These are of utmost importance in peace, and should war visit our shores, who can estimate the value of highways that would enable ns to niove troops, and munitions of war anywhere in the country with utmost speed and ease ? ' HOW THE GOVERNMENT COULD HELP The greatest drawback I can see is that government aid would involve a lot more fat offices to be filled and large sums to be dispensed, thus add ing another temptation to our piti fully large class of political buzzards who are always sniffing for a feast (of this kind. As to how government aid should be given I am hardly prepared to suggest. To hand out large sums to be expended under the present sys tem, does not strike me at all favor ably. Nothing could suit the" above mentioned class better. It seems to me now that the best way would be to provide means to educate men enough in the best sys tems of road building to enable us to find good men properly equipped to supervise our own efforts. It seems to me that this education should be provided for in "institutions already established, thus enabling the men of each section to find in their own section the training that would fit them to meet the condi tions existing in that section. These are large questions and open to argu ment on every side. I can only express my views, nar row and crooked though they may be, and trust that it will arouse others of larger and better view to take steps that will prove effective. The sad part of it seems to me that we farmers are a scattered class, each grubbing along his own row. Strong, brave, intelligent men, if we do say it ourselves. But for want of unity of action we are allowing ourselves to be handled like dancing bears by anybody4 and everybody who is "slick enough" to "humbug the grangers." May we not hope to do better? H. M. DANIEL. Madison Co., N. C. TO SOUTH CAROLINA FARMERS. A Call for a Meeting in Columbia During State Fair for Purpose of Organization. By request of Anderson County Farmers' Co-operative Union, I here by call a meeting of the farmers of the State to meet in Columbia, Octo ber 26, in the hall of the Y, M. C. A. building at 8 o'clock n. m., f or the purpose of discussing the issues that confront us. The time has come when.the farm ers should organize and conduct their affairs in a business-like man ner, and this can be accomplished only throngh organization. One great issue before us to-day is how to market the cotton crop in or der to get a just profit for produc ing it. All county organizations in the State are earnestly requested to send delegates; also the farmers from aU over the State. B. HARRIS, President Anderson County County Farmers' Co-operative Union. . - yu sh to buy anything ? See if-it is not advertised in our col umns. If not, write to the Editor. LABORERS SCARCE. Some Edgecombe Farmers Fear They Cannot Harvest all Their Crops. The problem of housing their crops is becoming acute with, a large majority of the farmers. The fields are white with cotton which open faster than the pickers can gather it. Now the peanut crop is upon the farmers with pressing imperative ness. Prices for picking have ad vanced without much increase in the number of pickers in three weeks. Peanut gatherers are not to be had for any price. One farmer of fered a dollar a day and board for about a dozen persons to gather his peas, but got none. His peas are the Virginia variety. The best are left on the ground when the vines are dug. He can get no one to gath er these. The consequence is that the ground is white with. them. Farmers must make up their mind to one fact that harvest times makes patent: With improved -machinery a farmer can plant and cultivate more than the present supply of la bor can gather. A cotton picker that will pick must be invented, more la bor brought ., here, or there must be a curtailment in crop acreage. Many farmers can be heard to gravely express the fear that the winter cold and . storms will find a large portion of their crons still in the fields ungathered. Tarboro Southerner. Farmers' Alliance Reorganized in Meck lenburg with Bright Prospects. Charlotte Chronicle, 13th : ?A body of representative Mecklenbu- farmers assembled at the court house to-day and organized the Mecklenburg County Farmers' Alli ance, with the following officers: President John McDowell, j of Steele Creek. Vice-President J. R. Utiey, of Mallard Creek. Chaplain James Wilson, of Hope well. Secretary and Treasurer Mack Sample, of Hopewell. These gentlemen are sufficiently well known to guarantee the stabil ity of the organization with which they have connected themselves, and it is felt that there is a career of great usefulness in store for the Alli ance. The election of a county lecturer was deferred until the next meet ing, which will be held in the court house at 10 o'clock on the morning of the first Tuesday of January. ' There are ten Sub Alliances in the county, which -have been organized through the instrumentality of Mr. H. H. Gates, the State Lecturer, and a few Mecklenburg farmers who are interested in the cause. Each one of these Sub Alliances were rep resented at the meeting to-day, and the delegates brought encouraging news of the progress they are mak ing. The Farmers' Alliance is being re organized all over the. State, and many of the leading agriculturists in North Carolina are becoming identified with the organization. They realize that the Alliance can be made a power for great good to the farmine peoDle and are- deter mined that the good results shall I not again oe destroyed by politics, J V mm . -