The Conservative (Nebraska City, Neb.) 1898-1902, February 08, 1900, Page 2, Image 2

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    * Cbe Conservative.
Herodotus discovered
covered that the
crocodile made
friends with a particular bird , which he
allowed to enter his month in order , as
'the ' writer supposed , to rid the reptile of
the leeches which infested his jaws.
Pliny says nothing of these pests , but
considers the complaisance of the crocodile -
< dile to be duo to the satisfaction he felt
in having his teeth picked by the bird.
Both authors speak of the bird as a
wren ; later naturalists describe it as
being as large as a thrush ; while it has
been reserved for the present generation
of travelers to identify this useful friend
of the crocodile as the spur-winged
plover. Of the fact of the alliance there
is not the least doubt. The operation
has been frequently witnessed by
numerous independent observers , one of
tthetotest of whom considers that the
* , bird doss actually perform the functions
rtf /toothpick / , "a process which the
( Crocodile enjoys. " "With such cor-
jcoboration the narrative of Herodotus ,
enbject to qualifications as it must be ,
la at least to be taken seriously and no
longer regarded as the visionary idea of
a mere fabulist.
An aged pioneer ,
RELATIVE. one of the Argo
nauts of 1854 , sat ,
ina , reflective mood , looking into a bright
wood fire burning in the grate at his
commodious and comfortable home.
His family and a few friends , with here
and there a grandchild , were gathered
.around him and calling for stories of the
ari/ territorial days in Nebraska. They
Basked /or descriptions of the primitive
domiciles , constructed of logs and sods ,
"which first et f ablished themselves as the
jpiokets of civilization ; and also for
detailed accounts of their furniture and
( conveniences ,
"Well , " said the old man , "my first
( Cabin was made of logs. It had a main
room fourteen by sixteen and a smaller
cabin ten by twelve built against the
east end of it , Between the logs there
was a chinking of sticks and stones
which held the mortar that had been
thrown in to keep out the oold and
Etorms. The floors were made of
"puncheons , " planks split and hewn out
of cotton wood tree trunks , and the roofs
were of riven oak. These oak rives , as
we called them , were about four feet in
length , four to eight inches in width
and a half inch in thickness. They
reached from one roof-log , laid horizon
tally with the cabin , to another. Upon
the top of this roofing we placed length-
yvise up and down the slope long prairie
gra s from the bottom or valley lands.
Thifl .Bra88 wafl a smoothly and to
averagea thickness , when compactly
weighed down , of about three or four
inches. And upon top of it we placed
the black surface soil of Nebraska and
pounded it to a stone-like solidity. That
sort of covering made the house im
pervious to rain and kept out the fine
drifting snow of the blizzards. My
cabin was an extra comfortable one
because I lined it up on the inside with
buffalo robes which I bought of the
Omaha Indians at two dollars apiece.
Wo had no chairs , we had no tables , but
our four trunks were covered , by the
deft and tireless fingers of your grand
mother , with little pillows that were
made of bright colored calico and stuffed
with prairie grass , and tables were made
out of dry goods boxes that our bedding
came in. Those trunks , when against
the wall , looked like old-fashioned
ottomans and were really comfortable
seats , and with their drapery which
concealed the lock in font and the
handles on the ends , seemed exceedingly
luxurious. And the tables were also
disguised by the same cheerful and in
genious woman so that mahogany could
have served us no better.
"We were young folks then. The
nearest neighbors were the Omaha
Indians. That entire tribe lived right
down on the Missouri river bottom , just
below the bluff on which our cabin
stood , and there were twelve hundred
of them then. They were as peaceful
and as lazy as the smoke that curled up
from their tepees. Among them , we
made many good and faithful friends.
For fidelity and honesty in friendship I
have never found a stronger , nobler
people. This was at cottage."I
American Fur Company had a trading
post under the management of Col.
Peter A. Sarpy , and the Presbyterian
church had a mission school and church
in charge of Rev. William Hamilton.
"I was twenty-two years of age and
your grandmother was twenty months
mor. We
Rich Then.
considered our
selves rich in comparison with some
emigrants who were camped out and
only protected by their wagons from
the winter blasts. We were full of
health and hope. We dreamed of in
numerable tomorrows in which we
should do great work and achieve great
results. We were ambitious to be
among the first and foremost founders
of a mighty state. The then present
was to us only a rough vestibule to a
magnificent future. The thought of
acquiring wealth was remote , except as
a means of social and economic pro
gression. We were relatively , when
compared to the Indians in their para-
flesh tepees and the unhoused emigrants
in their wagons , rich and positively
happy. Our daily fare was plain ;
pickled pork , beans , beets , split peas and
bread , as a rule , day in and day out.
But once in awhile we had venison and
prairie chickens , though never any
potatoes to cook with them. And so we
wintered and in the early summer of
1855 began to build , on our 'claim' of
160 acres , a one story cottage.
"I never shall forget Hie day the
frame was put up. After the rafters
Richer. were placed I sat
down and mentally
pictured the luxury and enjoyment which
were to be mine under the roof to be laid
thereon. Wife , children , friends , rela
tives from the East , and gatherings for
entertainment danced through my brain ,
materialized in that cottage , the skeleton
of which had just been flung against the
horizon. Then I was indeed rich in
hopes , ambitions and will-power. The
log cabin was behind us ; the cozy cot
tage before us. Twenty years it served
as shelter and delight. Around it trees
were planted and grew and bloomed
and fruited. In it music and children
and beautiful flowers vied with the sun
shine and smiles of the competent wife | |
and mother in making it attractive.
There was then a wealth of contentment
and a poverty of envy. Those men and
women are richest who have the fewest
wants. And in the beginnings of a state
none is wealthy in the sense that the
word is used regarding those who enjoy
luxuries. There was then a genuine
democracy of effort , hospitality and
unanimity of purpose. In a new and
sparsely peopled country there are no
'old families' and therefore no false
social distinctions. In primitive lodge
ments of civilization , along the edges of
an unexplored , unknown wilderness , the
gregarious instinct , which is common to
all humanity , develops a heartiness of
hospitality which extends itself to
strangers as to neighbors. All comers
to the cabin or cottage are welcome and
cordiality and courtesies are a spon
taneity. The pioneers in all the homely
and frugal virtues which embellish and
adorn home life were relatively richer
than their successors on these plains.
By this I mean to say that where a com
munity is made up entirely of new
comers who are intent upon bettering
their conditions , where the masterful
motive of the great majority is to found ,
to beautify and love a Home
that confidence is mutual and good-
wishes for the success of each are enter
tained by all. Society is of one class
1 ' History proves that colonies are jal ways
made up of the best types of men and
The Kind.
to the state whence
they emigrated. Only those who have
self-reliance and courage enough to
abandon homes of safety and ease settle
new and untried lands. The luxurious ,
the weak never open up the wilderness
to civilization. Nebraska has been no
exception to this historical averment.
The men who began to lead in territorial
affairs , in business , commerce and the
professions in 1854 have never been
supplanted except by old age and death.
They were intellectually and physically
sturdy and rugged , self-reliant and self-
denying. They had to be. The influence