The Falls City tribune. (Falls City, Neb.) 1904-191?, June 11, 1909, Image 2

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    Reminiscences of a Wayfarer
Some of the Important Events of the Pioneer Days
of Richardson County and Southeast Nebraska as
remembered by the writer, who has spent fifty
one years here
JOHN BKOWN \N11 KAl.l.s i'll'V
I ha\ r already mentioned that
John Brown's raid at Harpers
Perry, in Virginia, in the an
tumn of Kb, but only one of
the distinctive events of the
time covered bv these re in in is
it was a far cry from the little
hamlet in a western wilderness,
to the historic shores of the
Potomac, but in the drama that
was being enacted in the spring
time of that half a century old
year, and which was to end in
disaster and death running
through years to come, before
the snows of winter would whit
en the earth, these two points
had a mysterious connection,
lor they were both on the route;
of the irresponsible madman and
his followers, who in their wild
a n d unreasoning fanaticism,
were soon to strike a blow in
the world that would resound
through the universe. That the
so-called raid into the state of
Virginia, by John Brown, pro
cipitated the civil war in our
country, there can be no doubt
But fur that unfortunate cir
oumstance, the conflict between!
the antagonistic ideas among
the people, might have been
determined in some peaceful
way, or the evil day postponed,
and possibly an appeal to arms
been thus avoided entirely.
This is mere conjecture, for the
whole country was in such a state
of suppressed irruption that
little was needed to set off the
mine that had been growing un
der t h e feet of the people
through forty years of continu
ous and acrimonious agitation.
There is reason to believe
that nothing in the realm of na
tare happens by change, or ac
cidental means, but that in all
its operations, there is not on
ly perfect harmonious action,
controlled by fixed laws, which,
if properly understood, would
elminate much of the mystery
that now appears to shroud na
ture in the present, and lift the
dark veil to some extent, that
now hides the unknowable fu
ture from the knowledge of men.
The prophet, who is a fatalist
without knowing it, predicts
events to occur much in the
same way that events have oc
curred in the past, for without
knowledge derived from the
latter, he would have none
whatever of the other. If an
event in the future can be pres
ent in the consciousness of the
seer as something certain, ther
the happening of that event as
predicted, must have been pre
determined by superior power,
and if one future event is so de
termined, then all must be so
and fatalism becomes just as
true as the mathematical prop
osition, that the sum of the an
gles of any triangle is equal t<
two right angles. Ne\ erthelesi
the doctrine of fatalism is basei
on a false conception of cans,
and effect and is impossible t<
be true. All that can be said
in favor of prophecy is,that the
prophet who best knows the
past, and van best interpret the
philosophy of its history, is
best qualified to tell us the se
crets of the future. This in
valves o n e other reflection:
could history have been differ
ent front what it is—that is
was it possible for events to
have occurred in,any other way
than they actually did? 1 an
swex no.
It is not my intention to en
ter into an abstract philosoph
cal disquisition, but simply tc
call attention to a few undoubt
ed facts, which, I think will
serve to make plain the idea 1
have in mind. I have said that
ed bv fixed and unvarying law-,
and is comprehensive of every
object or thing in the whole
wide expanse of the universe.
It is an organism, a machine if
you please, and worksconstant
ly and always in precisely the
same way. If we could rightly
understand those laws.we might
know vvliat ‘diod and man i"
A threshing machine will only
do the work it was designed to
do, hut nothing else. Its sever
al parts move in harmony with
each other, and perform their
functions as though independ
ent entities, but it requires
the concurrent action of all to
successful operation. I lie same
is true of that mightier machine
that makes and controls the
world. Its every part is in
restless hut harmonious motion
with e\ery other, and together
produce fixed results which, but
for the admirable arrangement
of that incomprehensible meeh
anism, would not be results at
It is not probable that Urmvn
and his followers, when they
passed through F alls City,
knew that they would ultimate
ly briny up at Harper's Ferry,
in Virginia, or that any particu
lar place beyond the Canadian
frontier would be their destina
tion. They were outlaws, crim
inals, possessed ot but one con
trolling and tixed idea deadly
hatred of slavery and the hold
ers of slaves. They held no
commission from any human au
thority to make war on that
deeply hated institution: nor
were they incited by any hope
of pecuniary reward. They
knew their enterprise was un
lawful, and they knew further,
that their lives and their liber
ties were endangered at every
step in its prosecution, but with
a persistency horn of the very
madness o f fanaticism, they
went steadily and resistlessly
on to their doom on a Virginia
gibbet. It is probable that the
people of any of the small
towns through which t h e y
passed on their way to the Can
ada line, could have arrested
them and given them over tc
justice had they been so dis
posed, but the fact is. the peo.
pie in the free districts of tilt
nation were either too inditTer
ent or too much in sympath\
with the fleeing black men frorr
a life of bondage, to interfere
unless it was to aid the fugitive
in their Might. This fact wa>
well known to Brown, benct
his careful avoidance of Missnu
ri soil, where public -entimen
was just the opposite to wha
it was in the free -fates. Browr
could not have traveled ter
miles into Missouri without hav
: ing himself and all of hi- fol
j lowers shot to death or hung or
the nearest tree at hand.
I hat shows the state ot pun
lie sentiment in the two sections
of the country in that spring
time in the closing years of the
i decade of IKSO. What it was
then, was what it had been for
many years before, only it had
I grown in intensity with the
Might of time, and wa> to still
continue to do so till in the full
ne>- of time the -shock of arm>
came and then the bloody drama
unequaled in the annals of tin
Those misguided men were tin'
ignorant instruments to an end
| of which they were no more con
scious than if they had been
children. Reasoning a pri>>r<i,
a cause may be easily compre
, hensible by the ordinarily intei
j ligent, but the resultant effect
, cannot be measured by even
wizard genius, except by knowi
edge acquired a posteriori- that
is afier the facts are all known.
Annie this oostulate to the Har
if ail the people along the route
pursued by Brown could have
known that he and Ids associ
ate criminals w«**..* >i in' •<!»• the
state of Virginia and attempt
to incite insurrection among the
slave population against their
masters, it is not at a 1.1 likely
that they would have done any
thing to arrest their progress in
that direction; but if those same
people could have known, cer
tainly, that such invasion would
be made and that the occasion
would be seized upon by the
southern people as an excuse
for dissolving the union, or at
tempting it by levying war,
who will doubt that every one
of them would have risen with
fierce determination t<> stop that
band of mischief makers if they
had had to hang them to do so.
Thus we observe t b a t the
knowledge imparted by cause is,
not reliable for all purposes of
interpretation of the effect to
follow that is with our pres
ent imperfect understanding,
but the transcendental philoso
phy plainly teaches that such
knowledge is not only possible
but to a very great extent is
already possessed b v many,
hence the prophet and the seer.
They are ust as plentiful now
as they ever have been proba
bly more so. We are all wise
after the event, but the wisdom
that precedes it anticipates it
so to speak, is the wisdom the
world needs most. When the
future effect can be known in
the present cause, the prophet
will go out of business, no mat
ter by what name he is known,
it has been done to a limited
extent, which proves that it can
be, to a greater extent; and if
approach can be made to final
success in the smallest degree,
its ultimate attainment must
surely follow. I conclude there
fore, that to the far seeing phil
osophical statesman, every
movement made in these United
States, after the Mexican war,
affecting the institution of slav
ery in it, presaged the war that
finally broke upon the country
in actual conflict, in l"bl. Up
to the time of the Harper’s Fer
ry raid the hostility of the
northern sentiment again-1
slavery had been directed to ef
forts to prevent its spread in
the newly acquired territories
of the union. The fact is that
effort to circumscribe the area
of slavery territory’, was first
brought to the fore in the troub
le over the admission of the
state of Missouri, but when this
band of lawless men broke into
the state of Virginia and at
tempted to interfere with it in
one of tlie states of the u ion
where all parties had agreed
that it should not be distur >ed,
the south became alarmed, and
the election of Mr. Lincoln the
year following, on an a'-- red
anti slavery platform,confirmed
them in the belief that the in
stitution in the states wa- to
1 lie attacked a n d destro>. ed.
That precipitated the war md
it came, with what result- ev
1 erybody now knows.
Lt was peculiarly unfort ate
for our little town that t ese
lawless people should ive
passed through it at that >ar
ticular juncture. We wer»- ,.sk
ing the people uf the court? to
help us yet hold of the s. . • of
go1 ernment, and it a : t of
general knowledge that a .-on
'Iderai. e majoritv of the >eo
ple of the county at that ime
were not favorable to the t >oli
tion sentiment. We were not
to blame thht Brown a his
people passed through the * iwn.
Certainly we were not t«. ame
for not trying to stop h r. by
arresting the whole cro - I, for
it is very doubtful whether we
would have been able to do it,
and it is very certain that many
lives would have been lost in
the effort. Our people were
glad indeed when he left the
place, and would have been bet
ter pleased if he had given the
town a wide berth in his journey
to the north.
a thought suggests itself—and
that is, to get hold of a box of
My, but they look good—so
enticingly golden and crispy.
mer was to elect the delegation
from this county to the lower
house of the legislature, three
in number. Dundy was a hold
over in the council, and with
that force as a starter, we
hoped to again have the county
seat question submitted to the
people under such restrictions
as to make it impossible for a
prejudiced officer to defeat us
by an adverse, one-sided decis
sign. The John Brown visit
was troublesome, and it was
really out of the question to
convince the people that we not
only did not know of his cominy
but were in no sense in sympa
thy with his unlawful proceed
To those who did not want to
believe the slander that was!
put on foot in that connection, j
it was not difficult for u> to
prove ti> their satisfaction that
Brown’s visit came about solely!
because Falls City lay on the]
only direct route he could fol
low from his place in Kansas to
a point on the Missouri river in
Nebraska opposite the south
line of the state of Iowa, where
a crossing was made to Mount
Tabor, m that state. That
point was above Peru and a few
miles south of Nebraska City.
Who should we select as can
didates'.' There were no party
organizations in the county, but
in a way there were party
affiliations, many democrats and
some republicans, thouyh there
was no attempt to draw party
lines, certainly none on the part
of Falls City, as it would have
been the most ill-advised tiling
we could possibly do. It was
our policy to furnish one of the!
candidates, St. Stephen anoth
er and the third from some quar
ter in the west end of the coun
ty. A certain Dr. Carter, from!
what i- now known as Franklin
precinct, Dad been selected by
our people for the western
member, but shortly before the
nomination- were made public,
he was arrested on a charge
Of rape, and that was the last
of him as a possible coming
statesman. Hi< place wa> rilled
by one Nate Meyers, a resident
I of a town I forgot to mention,
named Monterey, but nobody
ever lived in it but Nate and his
family. He was something of
an orator and talked eloquently
of the “iron horse," by which he
meant railroads, and proved
himself something of a prophet.
| as >uch a horse, in days to come,
did make its appearance in the
country and is here yet. Hous
ton Nickells, a harum-scarum,
four bottle democrat a t St.
Stephen, was selected from that
quarter, and our own J. Edward
Burbank was selected for the
third fellow. Nothing of unus
Hnrinp- the
campaign, but the result was all
that we could desire, our men
were elected and the fur was to
fly shortly, and it is no figure of
speech to say that it did. A
bill was passed locating the
county seat at Falls City, and
providing for a resubmission of i
the question of its permanent'
location to a vote of the peo- j
pie upon the same plan adopted I
for the last election for the '
same purpose.
[n .the meantime our little
city hacl steadily grown in pop
ulation. Most of the young
men who came up from Kansas
to help us out at the first elec
tion, became uermanent resi
dents, and many others came to
us from the east and from other
parts. The Ware family and
that of Judge Marvin came
from Wisconsin, anil later the
(Hines brothers, relatives of the
Wares and Marvins. One of
them, Mr. Fid. Glines, with his
family, is still a resident of this
city. The Ware family have all
passed away, and only Frank
Marvin, of Oklahoma City, Ok ,
and the children of his deceased
brother George, are all that
survive of the Marvin family.
In the latter part of the win
ter or early in .the spring, John |
R. Dowty, who is still here,
came down from Nemaha coun
ty. and FI. W. Hutchinson and
family came from Rlattsmouth.
Some others I have already
mentioned. Mrs. Hutchinson
was a finely educated lady, with
ability much above the average.
It was to her I owe my first in
trocluction to theWaverley Nov
eh. by Sir Walter Scott. She
had a complete set and 1 man
aged to go through all of them
while 'an inmate of the family
the following winter. They
enabled me to pass many an
hour that otherwise would have
hung heavily upon me in those
long winter nights, and for
which 1 have always been grate
ful to that excellent ladv. She
has long been at rest with the
great army of the dead, along
with nearly everybody else I
knew at the time, but the many
acts of kindness she did me.
supplemented by kindly words
of encouragement when 1 most
needed them, will remain in my
remembrance among the cher
ished things of my life, to the
end of it—and after.
A theory vaguly hinted at in
this paper will receive a more
critical examination hereafter,
when 1 have the leisure for the
purpose, and inclination for the
work. It has no doubt been ob
served. that, in writing these
desultory papers, I have fol
lowed no system, but have
mixed up with the recital of
particular incidents that yet
dwell in my memory,some phli
osophical abstractions tiiat have
occurred to me a> pertinent to
my general purpose, and in a
measure, explanatory of things
obscure that surround and per
meare all the transaction^ of
men. What they are however,
they were intended to be, and
are given for what they are
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dissolve in two tablespoonfuls hot water
t teaspoonful baking powder (mix in flour) ! ;
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&. OW NS
Reliable Jawelers and Opticiars
— i
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To wear diamond* is to be in
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I want Horses from work
horses to Shetland ponies
Bring them in
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stand. Remember the date