Thursday, June 13, 2013

Pioneer Tales: Pleasant Memories

Arkansas Echo
March 9, 1894 and March 16, 1894

“It is amazing,” an American recently said to me, “how times can change. Earlier, when the first Germans came here, a person could now and then make a good deal with an old horse or donkey or an old cow. Now it is totally the opposite. Now the Germans sell us their old, discarded horses, donkeys, and cows.”

Yes, I thought, that good man in entirely right. That is the way things happened in the past, as experienced by many of us. As you know, when a person settles somewhere, before everything else he must worry about a work animal, be it a horse or donkey or even a cow. For most of us, our resources were so limited that an expensive, that is, good, animal was at first not imaginable. That was the way it was for me.
Arkansas Echo ad for horse and mule sales, 1894

My pocketbook was in no condition to permit me a $100 horse or donkey. I had to look around for something cheaper. And I ran onto one. I bought a horse for $50 from an American. It was supposed to be about 10 years old, but later turned out to be 18. I did not know anything about horses and bought it because it looked pretty good. The man had obtained it eight months earlier in exchange for an old cow, and he had cleverly fattened and prettied it up.

The nag could have lasted a long time if I only had had a good corn trough and not such heavy work. We began in the woods and soon a strong horse was needed, especially with the plowing. I could not help the old nag. It really had to do more that I could have expected from it; of course I did too, so we could console each other. But with force, it came around and afterwards, when I had corn myself and did not need to buy more, I could not get him on his feet.

I could not sell or trade him, but I needed to acquire another work animal. Again one day an American came to me with a six-year-old donkey to sell cheaply, ridiculously cheaply, for $25, on credit.

I thought, it costs nothing to look and went there. He had the donkey in the yard and I immediately noticed that the fellow hobbled more on three than four legs. The man insisted that did not bother him at all when he was working: he could do anything. I wanted to have him on a bridle once since that is how one could see how agile the fellow was and how he could run. It took us a long time to get him into the bridle.

Then I thought to myself, if you can run like that, then your hobble doesn't bother you much, and $25 isn't too much money. I took the bait, signed the note, and climbed on the donkey, and rode for home.

Oh no, screamed my wife, shocked, as she saw us coming. What kind of animal are you bringing home? It has only three legs, or at most 3 ½. You will never get rid of that in all your life. And I had noticed that the forth leg was shorter than the others during the trip. He dragged it behind. I scratched my head: I had it and had to keep it. The American was laughing up his sleeve.
Arkansas Echo ad for farm machinery and wagons

So I had now increased my livestock by one, progress already. But if I had expected to be better able to do my work, I was making a mistake, as I very soon discovered. Of course, I could harness it to anything, to the wagon, to the plow, also to ride. But it couldn’t have been harder if I had pulled those things myself. Luckily, by nature I have a good amount of patience, although often enough, I would have happily wished they were (as my friend Gottlieb would have said) in Jericho.

There is an old saying: in emergencies, the devil eats flies (i.e., beggars can’t be choosers). Flies I did not swallow, but certainly a lot of irritation. I still have a secret horror when I remember that time. I had to use Pat – I had so named him – for transportation to the mill or to the store or to other places. And I had him trained so that I could hang the bridle on his neck and then drive him in front of me.

One time I had ridden to the store where I had bought various things, among them 10 pounds on meal and a side of bacon. I packed all of the stuff on Pat’s back, put the bridle on and drove him in front of me.

Just then, an oxen driver came by us and cracked a whip, and crash, my Pat jumped, threw off everything, and took to its heels.

Part 2

I naturally went after it. Sure enough when I had soon caught up, it turned around and went into a gallop. Now it had to go through a long, narrow lane (a lane is the name of a path that has railing on both sides). If someone were at the other end, I could easily trap it. And luckily someone just then traveled by. I called and he saw what was happening. The man jumped from the wagon and went in the right direction so that he could cut off my Pat at the pass. Then I could catch hold of it by the collar.

As I got hold of it, I was overwhelmed by anger. I picked up a piece of wood and beat it over the ears. Oh pain! My Pat fell down and gave up the ghost, not making a sound. So it appeared to me. Well, said the man, you have beaten it to death. And so it appeared to me. However, in a little while, Pat perked his ears and all of a sudden, he struggled onto his feet and was within a hair of slipping away again.
Arkansas Echo ad for wholesale grocery story

I went back with it to pack up the things again. As I came into view of the place where my Pat had thrown off his load, I saw, to my horror, a sow with her young pigs giving the goods a close investigation.

My rebellious Pat let himself be pulled about by the reins like an old cow. I tied him quickly on a bush and ran as fast as I could to the pigs. I called and screamed as loudly as I could: sic’em, sic’em, sic’em. At last, the sow took to her heels, with bacon in her mouth, to the woods. And I went after it in order, where possible, to save the bacon, since it had cost me 17 ½ cents a pound. And I recaptured it, but in a condition that no one can easily imagine.

Now back to my Pat and the other things. Oh how that looked -- everything tangled up and strewn about. The meal sack had a couple of holes large enough to stick my fist into. And I had a half hour of work to do to make the necessary repairs in the sack and again load it. Then I led my Pat very nicely by the reins home without any further accidents.

Little by little, I had improved my circumstances so much that I could entertain the thought of procuring for once a regular work animal. But first I had to shake loose from the old baggage. With the nag, I was lucky and after a time, I dealt him for an old cow.

Things didn’t go so fast with Pat. Nobody wanted to take the bait!. Finally, I found an American who would give me three sheep for it. Happy to get anything, I considered it briefly and gave it to the man to take with him. The sheep were running around in the woods. And the man wanted to bring them to me within a week. But one morning, after 3 or 4 days, Pat was standing again before the door. I thought it had jumped out of the pen of the American since, despite its three legs, the thing could still do that.  Since I saw the poor fellow was hungry, I gave him a good meal and then sent him back with one of my kids.

The boy returned with the information that the man would not want that donkey even if it were given to him as a present. So I had my beloved Pat again and I had to feed him throughout the winter. And I had no prospect of somehow getting rid of him.
Arkansas Echo ad: Drink Fallstaff Bottled Beer

Early in the year, I succeeded in selling it again and to be sure to an American for a fat swine that was supposed to weigh 150 pounds. The next morning I went immediately to the man and as I saw the 150 pound pig, it appeared to me that it was a little too small for 150 pounds. I told the American that a person could not really call such a swine a 150 pounder, since the swine could not have weighed 125 pounds, and that I should receive an extra farrow. All right, I said, I’ll aim the swine in the right direction and drive it home. I would have taken it if it weighed only 25 pounds. A couple of days later, I slaughtered it and it weighed not more or less that 65 pounds. Go ahead, I thought; at least I was fortunately free from my 3-legged Pat.

I resolved in the future to no longer be involved with such old beasts, but once it happened again that I got stuck with such an old dromedary, something I will tell about at another time.


Introduction to the Pioneer Tales
This pioneer tale is one in a series published in 1893 and 1894 by theArkansas Echo, a German-language newspaper in Little Rock. The stories are intended to show the challenges and adventures facing German-speaking immigrants when they came to settle in Arkansas. So far, the following posts have introduced the Pioneer Tales and provided translations of most of them:
Pioneer Tales of Arkansas' German Immigrants (background of the newspaper series)
Arkansas Echo, November 3, 1893. THE GOOD OLD DAYS?

Arkansas Echo, November 10, 1893

Arkansas Echo
, November 17, 1893

Arkansas Echo
, December 1, 1893

Arkansas Echo
, December 8, 1893

Arkansas Echo
, December 22, 1893

Arkansas Echo
, December 29, 1893

Arkansas Echo
, January 5, 1894

Arkansas Echo
, January 12, 1894

Arkansas Echo
, January 19, 1894


Arkansas Echo, February 9, 1894. MY FIRST DEER HUNT

Arkansas Echo, February 23, 1894 and March 2, 1894

All Rights Reserved

Monday, June 10, 2013

Thanks to the Umpire, the Little Rock Rosebuds Vanquished the Hot Springs Bathers in a Baseball Game on June 9, 1894

The following are two front page stories printed in the Arkansas Gazette 119 years ago today, on June 10, 1894. They tell the story of two baseball games, one in which the home team (the Hot Spring Bathers) was robbed of a victory by an erroneous umpire call and the other in which the Camden Rainmakers demonstrated their superiority over the Morrilton  Prohibitionists. In the second game, the Rainmakers hit the pitching of Morrilton's Staples "whithersoever they wished" and according to some experts, Maloney, the Camden pitcher, threw "the best game ever pitched in Arkansas."  

The language of the sports stories in 1894 was a bit more elegant than today, but it is clear that the passion of the writers matched that of writers now covering hometown baseball teams. 

Go Rosebuds!  


The Bathers Go Down Once More Before the Rosebuds

Stone’s Stalwarts Bat Out a Victory In the Third Inning – Camden Downs Morrillton (sic)

Special to the Gazette.

Hot Springs, June 9.—The umpire beat the home club in today’s ball game. They are consequently sore over it. It was as pretty a game as anyone would wish to see. Buckeye Taylor started again to do the twirling for Hot Springs and shut out the Rosebuds in two innings. In the third, however, they seemed to weaken and the visitors pounded out six runs. Reed then went in and finished the game. In the first half of the ninth with two men out and score standing 6 to 7 in favor of the Rosebuds, Hot Springs had the bases full and Taylor knocked a corking grounder just inside the third base line, on which two men scored. To the surprise of everyone umpire Sumpter called it a foul. Taylor and Hayden then retired the side. Score by innings:

                    1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9 
Little Rock    0   0   6   1   0   0   0   0   0 – 7
Hot Springs  1   0   2   1   0   0   0   0   2 – 6

 Special to the Gazette.
Camden, June 9.—Camden just put it all over the Morrillton (sic) Prohibitionists today. The latter could not play at all against the fearful onslaught on the Rainmakers. The Camden team realized today that the boys around town were backing them up. The game yesterday and the day before were played without much interest on the part of the Rainmakers, but today they were determined from the start to win the game, and they did. Both sides played a splendid game up to the third inning.

The Rainmakers soon found Staples balls and batted them all over the field whithersoever they wished. The errors were about even. It is said by experienced baseball men and Maloney pitched the best game ever pitched in Arkansas. He simply had the Morrillton (sic) boys at this mercy. Camden’s defeat by the Morrillton (sic) boys the day before yesterday is traceable to many causes other than good playing. The Camden boys are by far the best players. They should have had three straight games instead of two.
                   1   2   3   4   5   6   7   8   9
Camden      0   0   6   0   4   0   3   0   0 – 13
Morrillton     1   0   0   0   1   2   0   0   0 -- 4

Arkansas Gazette, June 10, 1894, p. 1