Newspaper Archive of
Arkansas Catholic
Little Rock, Arkansas
April 9, 1927     Arkansas Catholic
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April 9, 1927

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THE GUARDIAN ., m HITTING THE TIlL WEST , THIRTY FIVE YEARS AGO IOWA EDITOR TEARS PAGE FROM MEMORY S BOOK TO RELATE HORRORS OF UMATILLA DESERT By Charles C. Barn ette in l ond train to pass over the Spokane Farley Advertiser I Falls from Great Falls. Thirty-five years ago, the writer in I At Havre, we got our first glimpse company with a man whom we shall of what a regular western town was call "George," left Illinois to go west. in those days. Gambling houses in George was a railroad man, and shacks--a few straggling board shan- -brakeman, who had spent half his ties and a main street of t~e custom- lifetime on the Chicago & Northwest- cry board structures Indians, cow ern road between Clinton and Chi- men and railroaders" made up the cago~. He was a powerful man, in populace, and as our special stopped ms young manhood, and, save for a here for two days and two nights, it aeIecuve left arm, was a physmal can be imagined, some of the scenes marvel. A man who never knew what around Havre when our unholy 200 the word fear meant, a man who were turned loose, to augment the weathered, many a,.knoc,k down and population for a couple of days. Gun- arag-ou~..m ~.n.e . nard . ~)ar-rooms totem, cow-punchers in full regalia, arounu me west slaP" m Chmago. and one heated afterno~)n we saw He was a loyal friend, a good corn-[three Flathead Indians, all on one ~amon, but a little too handy with lsmall pony ride into town all lickered is strong right arm, which he used Iup and shooting and howling like at the least provocation, with killing Icoyotes" effect. He was sure enough a l Before our snecial left T4. ..... "Fighting Dutchman.' ........ ' " As for knowledge of the world, outside of Clinton and Chicago, he was zero. After listening to some of the tales of adventure "out west George persuaded us to hit the trail. For us, it was an old story--long rides in the festive box-car, post- re was a tough place--as hard as ponement of many good meals---hard they were in the west then. George knocks, all around. George had never consented to go providing they would been ,hungry in his lifetime, and as take me along---~his partner. It was will be seen later, he was dishearten- a wonderful trip from Havre to Cut ed and downcast, dejected and for- Bank, and until the night they sent lorn, when a couple of days later, we us back to flag at the rear of that found ourselves in Minneapolis, train--back where we could hear the Minn., witli less than $8 between us. yip and yell of the coyotes, and the After a consultation of what to do, long, mournful howl of the wolf, as we decided to visit an employment he bayed at the stars, and sent the agency and see what was doing. Go- cold chills coursing up and down the ing clown the line we noticed a sign--- hack of a tall and very lonesome "Men Wanted to Work on the Rail- printer. We were tickled when we road Grade in Spokane Falls." heard the engineer call in the flag- Jim Hill at His Worst man. Here was our chance. Going up toPrairies Swarmed With Cattle the office, we were informed by a At one place we were compelled to dapper looking gent that for $3 he stop the train and drive the cattle off would "ship" us to Spokane Falls to the .tracks as there were no fences, work on the "grade." At this time and the prairies were swarming with Jim Hill, the empire builder, was at long horns at that time. Our crew his worst, and had resolved to fill became thirsty and the head braky the west with laboring men. You I opened an end door to a carload of could ride west, but you could not lbooze' going west and driving up a go ten feet east without a ticket in !hop inserted a small auger bit and your hat. so we were compelled to stop--as city our special stopped at a crossingI river is fed from the mountain a cold breeze swept down some giant monarch of the mountain of another road and when it startedi streams, it is absolutely impossible mountains that fringe the forest would crash to earth sending --it was a bunch of empty coaches to stay in the water for any length would chill you to the mar fragments of its once noble form, that were hauled into that passenger sprawling across the track to block terminal save for a few, and the of time, as this trio of greenhorns Just as the sun was geting our passage. The night scene of a train crew. The ignoble 200 who had soon found out, despite the heat of I plunge down behind the forest fire, is beyond our vocabulary boarded her in St. Paul,deserted the desert the water is bitter cold. izon, and in the After a rip into water we saw objects moving all plodded on down the track--kflat from the sands of the broke, hungry and by this time, foot- and i stretch themselves sore and weary. As evening came on, warm steel rails of the the heat of the desert vanished and . (Continued on the Next to describe. It is terrifying. The[within two miles of the object of all great firs and spruces aflame ~orIof that two weeks' travel melted miles---stood like fiery crosses as they1 away into the landscape. reached their hoary arms to heaven] We stayed in Spokane Falls for a in mute supplication to the awful[couple of days, and after two nights fire god that was wreaking a terrible work on the "Spokesman" a daily toll in this "Valley of the Giants." paper. George and myself and a corn- At one deep ravine our train was panion of the Special, headed for stopped and a man sitting near usI Portland, Oregon. on the top of a caboose that was at- Thousands of Snakes in Desert tached to the rear of a string of Thirty-five years is a long time to coaches, called ot~r attention to an look backward--especially when it object high up among the rocks reverts to scenes of hazard and hard- where thd fire seemingly forgot to ship, but as near as we can remem- search out its victim----a grizzly (or ber, we were compelled to traverse silver-tip) bear lay panting on a!about twenty miles along the burning shelving rock, perched high above the[sands of Umatilla desert on foot. road bed. The great brute looked At one place, about the middle of the down on us in supreme security, as day, we decided to desert the rail- no man in that crowd, had he been road track and take a fine plunge in- armed to the teeth would dare molest to the snake river, that wended its the noble beast, who had cheated the way through this section of the flames that had almost depopulated desert Seeking the sheltering folds the vast forest of its animal and bird of a tree, yours truly, was the first to folks, disrobe and head for the strean~ Empty Coaches at Spokane Falls Easing our manly form from the After many, many weary hours of bank into the river, we went under riding we came in sight of Spokane with a plunk! We arose with teeth Falls---then a thriving city of 35,000 [ chattering and knees knocking; It people. About two miles from the was fierce the cold! As the snake THE HOME OF ] THE FAMOUS I "Forked Leaf Oak Flooring" I :anufactured by ] The Long Bell Lumber Company- i PINE BLUFF, ARKANSAS .... I "The Ol:::: :L::::kA:K;rkansas'' I outpopped a fine stream of licker that We laid down tim $3 apiece for trickled until a large springier was Invites Business of a Financial Nature and Is Prepared "transportation" to Spokane Falls, filled. A plug was driven into the to Render Efficient Servi e. and was handed a black paper grip hole and the hoop was pounded down from the labor agency--a bluff at ---somebody was "short" on the booze 4% INTEREST PAID ON SAVINGS the railroads, as every man who/on the receivers' end. Thank a kind' High-grade Mortgages and Bonds for Investors. shipped must have baggage. That lprovidence, we never could drink night we got in line with our paper~h . . [ Checking accounts invited from firms I ours through rough, prmrm coun- [ and individuals. grips---empty, save for a few old'try and late at night brought up at newspapers, and were soon aboard strong licker, nohow. ~ __,,_ the Special headed for Spokane Falls, At Cut Bank George and I joined ............ " Devil's Lake, and the k , devil only the Special which wended its way for new wnere, what was then called the "Summit." A Motley Crowd. Here the Special was forced to halt, l ~I It waspouringdownrainwhenwe as greatforestfireswereburningall, PINE BLUFF LUMBER left the Great Northerh depot,-- along the route west of where we I' about 300 in nutnber. As we now were. That night we moved alongn[~ COMPANy look back at the crowd of men who slowly westward but every mile or ? boarded that train, we wonder if everi I there were as man diffe I ........................................ Y rent Q.uahty (men?) About 10$ were Swedes and i~ - ~l Norwegians, who were all headed l ~ ano ~[ for Devil's Lake, and who by the way I ~ " Lungmotor Service ~ all jumped off the old "Special,, t ~ "From the Tree to Your Home" when we arrived there many hours i~ I v 11 ~:/ later. These Scandinavians were $ 1"1o As rlomerness PINE BLUFF, ARKANSAS well fortified with jugs of 'alko-hol"l$ ~'~t~rlnrt'~wt,lr |~ ~ and a joyous bunch they were. The]'[' vvaaal, WLLaaJ'9 aaa~,s ~| rest of 200 individuals, it would be[~ FUNERAL DIRECTORS ' . hard to tell what they were. Gamb.] ~ ~,~ .:: ~ ..... ~. -- --~_ ._~_--~_m lers, safe-blowers, 3-card Monti men, l? Tele-hone 1en ,I~! shell men, printers, tailors, boilerI l, $] makers and strong-arm men--all[:~ OPEN DAY AND NIGHT GEO. W. LIST, Pres. and Mgr. JESSE R. CORE, Sec'y and Treas. headed west to work on the railroad[.~ FF grade--nit. We will venture to say[~ PINE BLU , ARK. that there was not one honest labor-iT 4.] ing man in that motely crew. All the] - :--- - '--- :-- : ! mo~m~o~ 9mma~mp Compliments Jewelry Store Swedes and Norwegians unloaded at Devil's Lake, but not until all the jugs of alki were empty we will say. We could write volumes o~ what transpired before that train finally landed in Spokane Falls almost two weeks later. It was a harrowing trip, and one we will never forget. The railroad furnished the transportation alleats. right, but they did not furnish the The first day out our remaining $2 ] ~ was spent for eats, and as bread was| worth 30 cents a loaf, up.~there inI bleak Montana, it was rough goillg, indeed. There were no depots along PINE BLUFF, ARK. the way after we left Havre, Mont., [ --just small tents. Ours was the ~ec-I*:" ....... ~':" J SHELL-ROSS FLOUR & FEED CO. DISTRIBUTORS Purina Chows, Red Star Flour, DeLaval Cream Sepa- rators, Carey's Salt, Wyandotte Cleaner & Cleanser. A full line of Grain, Hay, Mixed Feeds and Heavy Groceries. Fifteenth and State 223 Walnut ANYTHING FROM HANDKERCHIEFS TO CIRCUS TENTS 201 to 205 East Barraque Street Phone 146 PINE BLUFF, ARKAI SAS Fires and Accidents Don't Just Happen. They Are the Results of Thoughtlessness or Carelessness. Our Phone Numbers, Day or Night, Are: 1032---513---1252 TAYLOR & COMPANY PINE BLUFF, ARKANSAS The Personal Service Agency PINE BLUFF, ARKANSAS BOBBITT & DANCY DRUGGISTS Our Hobby: "SATISFACTION AND SERVICE' Telephone 68 120 MAIN STREET PINE BLUFF, ..... _-i-- : --~ :--- :: ~- ,@'~e" "WHERE GOOD FURNITURE IS NOT Simpson & Webb Furniture FURNITURE FLOOR COVERINGS STOVES AND RANGES Complete Home Furnishers CASH OR CREDIT PINE BLUFF, WHEN YOU THINK OF SHOES ' THINK OF JONES BROTHERS ~ ,_T- " ~'~ .~ We Fill Mail Orders Same Day Received. PINE BLUFF AND JONESBORO, 0 nnuncla PINE BLUFF ARK. Boarding and Day School for Young Ladies- Boys taken as day pupils. The course of study includes every branch commonly taught in primary, grammer and high school departments. Vocal, Music Needlework Vocal, Music, Drawing, Needlework are taught throughout the grades. The De- partment of Music is one of the special fea- tures of the Academy. Lessons on piano, violin, Cornet and saxophone. FOR PARTICULARS ADDRESS SISTERS OF CHARITY PINE BLUFF, ARKANSAS