Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Many hotels are run successfully without it

This is an excerpt from an early 1900 history of Iowa. I was going to just post the Indian section, for being so well-meaning, so wrong, and so sad. But then I saw the temperance rant that ended the chapter previous and decided the irony was too much.

I think Satan was some better tools at his disposal than drink, don't you?

Forty years ago as has been before said, all the people in this region of
country were accustomed to use intoxicants as a beverage. Liquor was
freely used at the polls on election day. The several candidates furnished
it for their friends, and it was not uncommon to see men drunk, fighting
drunk and noisy, before the polls closed. Here and there at the boat
landings along the river, whisky was kept for sale, and the imbibers
thereof were wont to frequent these places for social merrymaking. Broils
and fights, and reckless smash-ups, were not uncommon. Whisky used to be
termed a good creature of God, but time has shown the fallacy of such a
statement. For if Satan has any one tool more pliant, skilful, Satanic,and
more destructive of all good than any or all others, it is Alcohol. It
blunts conscience, and prompts to the commission of crime; it beats
mothers and beggars families; it ruins character and destroys souls; it
poisons the body and crazes the mind; it drags down the talented and noble
and plunges them into the ditch. Murder, robbery, theft, adultery, anger,
malice, blasphemy and the whole catalogue of crimes are incited and warmed
into life by this fell destroyer. But much has been done to curtail this
evil. It is made unchristian to use it, make it or sell it. It has
disappeared from the public gaze. It finds no place in the most genteel
families. Many hotels are run successfully without it. Elections are
conducted quietly and honestly and honorably without it. In no case is it
indispensable. In most it is decidedly hurtful. Temperance has made
decided advances. Great changes have occurred for the better in the past
fifty years. May we not hope that intemperance will yet be banished from
the land?


THERE are no adults among us, and few children, who have not heard of
Indians as dangerous creatures - a strange people to be greatly feared;
but many children have never seen an Indian. Some years ago a Pawnee
Indian boy named "Ralph" attended school here in Tabor. He dressed, and
played, and talked, and studied, and recited his lessons just like other
boys. The United States government removed the Pawnee tribe years ago to
the Indian Territory, and Ralph went with them. Geo. B. Gaston and wife
lived several years among the Pawnees in Nebraska, and became deeply
interested in them, so that some of them visited in Tabor more than once.
When we first came to Iowa, forty years ago, Indians lived just across the
Missouri river from us, and when the river became frozen across in the
winter they frequently came over on the ice. Some unprincipled white men,
who kept whisky and drank of it themselves, would give it to the Indians,
and sometimes they got drunk, and then it crazed them and made them
dangerous, just as it does white men. Drunken Indians came to a house in
California City in Mills county once, more than thirty years ago, when the
men happened to be away from home, and the women shut the door against
them. When they could not get in, one of them attempted to shoot through
the open chinks at the side of the door with his bow and arrow; but no
sooner was the arrow-point inserted between the logs than Mrs. Cordelia
Clark Martin, with great decision and prompt presence of mind, seized it
and snatched it out of his hand. Mrs. Cordelia C. Hinton probably retains
that arrow to this day. as a souvenir of the perils of the past. Baffled
in their endeavor to enter that house, they went to other houses, and made
themselves so disagreeable generally that some of the party were killed
before they recrossed the river into Nebraska. So Alcohol proves to be the
apt tool of Satan for the destruction of man kind, whether he be white, or
red, black, brown, or yellow.

Many still live in Fremont county to whom the Indian trails or paths, that
wound over the hills and through the vales, from grove to grove and from
stream to stream, were as familiar, if not as numerous, as are the roads
that accommodate the traveling public now. Indeed their camp fires were
still burning when some among us first came to Fremont county. The forks
and poles which formed the frames of their dwellings, and the bark which
covered them, reminded us often of the singular race that had so recently
disappeared. No history, then, of the county would be complete without
some account of the native tribes which preceded the white man on this

A feeling of sadness involuntarily steals over us as we contemplate the
waning glory of the nations that once with elastic step,proud mien and
brave hearts chased over these beautiful prairies herds of innumerable
buffaloes, stealthily pursued the bounding deer and graceful antelope, or
more leisurely fished in the rivers, streams and lakes, or waylaid the
numberless birds of passage that vibrated between their summer and winter
homes - nations that displayed their military prowess in sanguinary tribal
conflicts on the field of battle. Strong nations have dwindled to
insignificant bands in their retreat before the influx of the Anglo-Saxon
race, until they may fittingly adopt the poet's sad strain:

"They wast us! Aye, like April snow
In the warm noon we shrink away;
And fast they follow as we go
Toward the setting day."


kim said...

i don't know whether to laugh or cry, especially that last paragraph about letting them "retreat before the influx of the Anglo-Saxon race."

rarely does one find such a perfect encapsulation of ideas of the noble savage, the vanishing indian. kudos to you, my friend.

Whim said...

I thought you'd appreciate this-- and it was also a little bit of Kim-baiting. I wondered, 'does she look at the ole blog' and look, it worked!

kim said...

your blog is in my google reader, so when i do my daily blog roll, i can see whether you've updated.

apologies for the paucity of my commenting - i am generally a lurker; i don't like to comment unless i really have something to say. or unless a post makes me glad i didn't have coffee in my mouth when i drank it.

kim said...

when i READ it. i need to go home.