The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, July 28, 1898, Page 6, Image 6

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    II ' ! TTbe Conservative.
KOKTY-rOtm To the editor of
TIVI : :
My experience in finding my way into
Nebraska in 1854 suggests the remark
able change and progress in transporta
tion facilities between Chicago and the
Missouri river during those four and
forty yours. My first objective point
was Keokuk , Iowa , where my father ,
the late Lorin Miller , was in waiting for
me to join him in the movement on
Omaha which had boon previously plan
ned. It became necessary to reach Keo
kuk to go from Chicago by railway to
Alton , thence by boat up the river. At
tracted by the kindness of a U. S. army
officer who was returning from Califor
nia to his St. Louis homo , and some
what persuaded by his marked atten
tion to the stranger , I decided to go
down the Mississippi river to St. Louis
before going up to Kcokuk that I might
see the city which , then as now , was the
head of the broad-water navigation on
the Mississippi , and renew acquaintance
with Mr. Ben Stickney and his brother ,
the Major , who were natives of Boon-
ville , New York , where my own eyes
first beheld the sunlight. The major
JUKI ueen my senooiniaie , ami me
Stickney's and the Planters' Hotel of
that day were as widely known as the
hotel men of the West and South , as the
Stetson's and the Aster House were in
the East. It was on that visit that I first
saw a black man owned as property by
a white man. It was also on that visit
that I had my heart first warmed and
my narrow head broadened by that hos
pitality which is so peculiar and remark
able that it has never been known to
the northern states. But I must stop
this kind of narrative. My object is in
this contribution to THE CONSERVA
TIVE to tell its readers about travel fa
cilities into Nebraska in 1854 , and not to
relate incidents of travel. Perhaps I
ought to mention the fact that St. Louis
and Chicago had no connection with
each other by railway in that year.
As I remember we rode nearly twenty-
four hours in making the journey be
tween Chicago and Alton , on the Chicago
cage and Alton railway. I am informed
by its courteous general passenger man
ager that he cannot find any time sched
ule of that early day on that road , but
the trip between the two cities of St.
Louis and Chicago is now made in less
than one-half of the time that was made
in those days. No Pullmans had been
dreamed of then. Wo sat up all night
in common scats with hand lug'gago for
pillows. No modern platformed or ves-
tibuled cars , or airbrakes were in exis
tence. The rattle of the handbrake and
the links of the
short chains that con
nected the old style platforms , and the
bumps and jerks and clatter over thorough
rough rails and rail beds , the slow speed
of the trains furnished the music and
the weariness of personal transportation
in Illinois in 1854.
Arriving at Keokuk by the great river
no time was lost for the start in a Con
cord coach of the Western Stage Co. , of
Col. Hooker memory , for Omaha.
Five days and four nights in that
prairie craft moving into a wild and
unsettled region to the young man who
had never been west of Geneva , Now
York , before in his life , was an exper
ience for which , even now , it is not easy
for the old one to account. The migra
tions of men , like those of the birds , are
mysteries in most cases. There is a
well remembered charm about that jour
ney and many others that succeeded it
by the same means. Not a single iron
rail had been laid at that time on Iowa
soil. The western half of the state now
the opulent home of a million of
people who arc rich in everything which
brings happiness to rational and en
lightened men and women , was practi
cally unsettled. It lacked even im
proved wagon roads and bridges. The
smaller streams were forded , horses and
coaches swimming betimes in the swift
and narrow currents of the smaller
streams. I remember to have spent a
whole night and a part of a day in the
agreeable company 01 seven or eight
stage passengers , waiting for a small
creek to fall down and let us pass. Part
of the night some of us tried to sleep in
front of a fireplace in a log cabin , and so
did several pigs and chickens. Over
hill and down dale , day after day and
night after nightdid the coaches and four
roll along toward the laud of uncertain
promise. There was so much that was
new in imagination and the spirit of ad
venture as to mark that first journey
across Iowa when the west half of it
was condemned to sterility , and of being
incapable of successful occupation by
many , as ono of the most enjoyable in
cidents of a long manhood life.
It was a dark and gloomy evening of
October , 1854 , when the ordinary song
of the "breaks" on the wheels of the
coach sot up an unearthly howl which
told of the steep descent and sharp
turns down the high liills into Council
Bluffs and the valley of the Missouri.
The long journey was ended and the
new life began , of which you , sir , have
been so much a part.
I will not take the space to point the
contrasts , or to attempt to measure the
almost magical changes which have
been made hero in transportation facil
ities by the progress of railways and the
power of steam in the last past forty
years. In a journey I once made from
Omaha in mid-winter , partly in sleighs
and partly on wheels , to Iowa City , I
was seven nights and eight days on the
road. Paper mails , and oven letter
mails , wore weeks in coming from Chicago
cage to Omaha. I now receive The
Chicago Times-Herald with regularity
at my Deerfield postoffico at 5 o'clock p.
m. on the day of its publication , and
The New York Herald on the second
day after its publication. With a choice
of four lines of the finest railways and
the most luxurious equipments in mov
ing palaces , men and women leave
Omaha late in the evening , sleep the
sleep into which smooth tracks , a sense
of perfect security and a gentle swaying
motion rock them , and they are some
times disturbed at being aroused for
early breakfast in the marvelous metro
polis on lake Micliigau next morning.
I have purposely omitted even men
tion of the transportation in the early
days by river , which properly belongs to
the subject of this communication , and ,
if permitted , I may refer to it and to
the memory of boating life on the Mis
souri in "The Fifties. "
IN KUitora. respectable cit
izens of the United States organized
about two years ago a propaganda to
preach corn foods edibles made out of
Indian maize to all the hungry of
The propaganda was , however , purely
philanthropic and without available I
cash for carrying on its missionary la
bors. Therefore with childlike helpless
ness it began to importune the federal
government for money with which to
send its benevolent members abroad to
preach cornbread and hasty puddings.
It asked that the money wasted hereto
fore in purchasing packets of common
seeds for statesmen to send to their con
stituents , be diverted to defray the ex
penses of those endeavoring to instruct
the cornless in preparing and consuming
foods made from American corn. But
paternalism even at Washington and in
congress was not quite sentimental and
affectionate enough to stop seed and be
gin corubread distribution.
CORN , LIKE CHARBut as has been
ITY. SHOULD BEGIN doinniistrntorl hv
AT HOME. actual experiment
in a Nebraska regiment a corn ration
among soldiers is popular , useful and
wholesome. Then in a practical way
the consumption by mankind of food
made from Indian corn should begin at
home where charity properly begins ,
Rations of good corn grits , cornmeal
and corn flour should be furnished
Um'ted States soldiers in the field. A
useful experiment , thus practically
made , is worth a thousand sentimental
and unpractical proselytes in Europe
traveling at government expense and
extruding twaddle in favor of making a
diet of cold corn bread.
The subjoined letter explains itself :
JULY 22 , 1898.
I have your letter of the 18th
instant relative to the now cereal ra-