The Hardin County (Illinois) Gazette was “An Independent Weekly Newspaper- Devoted to the
Agricultural, Mineral, Educational, and Other Interests of Hardin County.“ It began as the Hardin Mineral in 1870.
From 1873 until April 21, 1882 the Hardin Gazette was published and edited by James A. Lowry, seen by many
as a fighting editor who stepped into the middle of the Oldham-Belt feud and took on the Ku Klux Klan and their
leader, Logan Belt, and his band of assassins and nightriders. Others saw James A Lowry as a meddler
and a trouble maker. In April 1882 James
A. Lowry sold the paper and it became the Hardin
County Independent, still published today.
An educated man with far-flung interests, James A.
Lowry was a naturalist and avid collector, was the
County Superintendent of Schools, a Police Magistrate, farmer and dabbler in commodities. He was an active leader
in the Democratic Party in this post Civil War era which 'twas not always a popular affiliation...even if one lived
in deep Southern Illinois. James A. Lowry possessed a puckish sense of humor and great imagination. He suffered
death threats, character assassination, the collective foibles of his own family, and watched his press, collection,
resources, and nine years of hard work fire bombed into rubble. He sought to recover but crumbled under family,
physical and financial troubles. He bore attacks on his family. He developed acute lead poisoning. Nearly bankrupt
and to save his life, he sold his beloved Gazette. After taking the cure in Hot Springs , Arkansas he immigrated
to Tyler County, Texas. There he later resumed his newspaper career. His marriage failed and he moved back to Hardin
County where he married Martha E. Ginger. In 1910 James was back in Abilene, alone. He died September 19, 1925
in AbileneTexas of complications following a broken hip.
James A. Lowry (1841-1925) was the son of John Lowry
(1820- 1899) and his first wife Mary. James
A. Lowry was the grandson of Shadrick Lowry
(1791 SC-c 1865) and the great grandson of John Lowry (1758 Frederick County VA - c 1848 Hamilton County IL). James A. Lowry is
my half second cousin two times removed. I have salvaged some clippings from the microfilm chronicling the last
three years of the Gazette and will post a few off and on. Enjoy one of two real live “country weeklies” run by
a family member. The other was the Dahlgren Echo of
Hamilton County IL, published and edited by my father,
Euil Wayne Morgan.
James A Lowry…The AbileneTexasYears...Feuds and Shootouts
Copyright Albert Morgan - Jul 13, 2009
James A Lowry…The Abilene Texas Years
We have previously posted the story of James A Lowry, our "half-second cousin twice removed" kinsman who published
the Hardin County Gazette, a weekly newspaper that must be read to gain the flavor of these post Civil War times.
>From 1873 until April 21, 1882 the Hardin Gazette was
published and edited by James A. Lowry, who saw himself as a fighting editor who stepped into the middle
of the Oldham-Belt feud, took on the Ku Klux Klan and their leader, Logan
Belt, and stood up to the liquor interests. In April
1882 James A. Lowry sold the paper and it became the Hardin
County Independent, still published today. We knew
James A Lowry went back into the newspaper business in Abilene , Tyler County, Texas but details were
lacking. Now we have new information.
James A Lowry was in failing health when he left the threats of the whiskey makers and the KKK
supporters in Hardin County, IL . He took a recuperative trip to the Missouri (or Arkansas) Hot Springs.
James caught "Texas Fever" and headed for AbileneTexas , a new town promoted widely by railroad interests. He
arrived in 1883 and took a job as a printer with Charles
Edwin Gilbert's "Abilene Reporter", a
new paper first published June 17, 1881 . In 1885 Gilbert
was in a venomous competition with another new Abilene paper called "The Magnetic Quill".
convinced James to start a competitive weekly which he did. His paper, "The Taylor County News",
first came off the press on March 27, 1885 .
To understand James A Lowry's "Taylor
County News" one must know the story of the
"Abilene Reporter" and its rival, "The Magnetic Quill", and the shoot out between the editors
on the streets of Abilene . Here is that story as taken from the writings of the Taylor County News and the 125th
Anniversary Special Section of the Abilene Reporter-News (http://m.reporternews.com/news/2006/Jan/27/a-look-back-at-th
e-abilene-reporter-news/) (Friday, January 27, 2006)
"The Abilene Reporter-News is the city's oldest business, founded just three months after the town was begun,
by 25-year-old Charles Edwin Gilbert. Gilbert, a native of Alabama , came to Texas in 1876 at age
21. For five years in Navasota he published The Navasota Tablet. That paper prospered, but Gilbert's attention
was caught by an advertising campaign the Texas & Pacific Railroad was waging for a West Texas town called
Abilene . The railroad was billing Abilene as the '' Future Great City
of West Texas .''(Note: This campaign was the source of much of
the "Texas Fever" that infected so many in Southern Illinois . Many Hardin families made the move….AWM)
sold The Navasota Tablet and moved to Abilene . He rented a three-room shanty for his family and pitched a tent
on South First Street between Oak and Chestnut streets,
where the first paper was printed. Gilbert published his
first issue of the Abilene Reporter on June 17, 1881 , from
his tent office. Gilbert purchased a one-page George Washington press from Buffalo Gap's newspaper, The Texas Eagle.
The press was the same model, if not the identical machine, as the old press located in the Abilene Reporter-News
lobby today. A fire destroyed his entire operation which he rebuilt only to later have problems with a rival newspaper
which resulted in a duel.
"In an emerging town, Charles Edwin Gilbert soon had competition. "The Magnetic Quill" was established
in 1882, exact date unknown, by William L. Gibbs, a part-time preacher who for a time preached a religion based on
a literal interpretation of the Bible. (He believed in triple immersion, once for "The Father," once
for "The Son" and once for "The Holy Spirit.")
"Gilbert and Gibbs took opposing positions on many issues. Gilbert pushed for immigrants
to settle West Texas . Gibbs favored the open range cattlemen. Gilbert promoted the Fair. Gibbs suggested that some of the crops Gilbert had displayed in the
1884 Fair had not been grown locally. Gilbert wanted Abilene to incorporate as a town. Gibbs thought
the village was doing well without that expense. Gilbert wanted the land to be fenced. Gibbs opposed fencing.
"The two fought their own printed version of the Barbed Wire War. The editorial battles soon became financial
warfare. Gilbert was supported by farmers and struggling businessmen. Gibbs
had support of the "cattle barons."
"Gilbert recalled later that for 18 months in a row he operated at a net loss averaging $150 per
month. In March 1884, Gilbert took two bold actions. He turned his struggling weekly into a daily publication.
And he helped promote a "back fire," a third newspaper.
"Gilbert had on his staff an excellent printer, James
L. Lowry (James
A. Lowry--AWM), a native of Illinois , resident of
Abilene since 1883. Gilbert suggested that Lowry start a new paper, offering him several options. Lowry decided to go it alone. He began The Taylor County News on
March 27, 1885 . It was a readable, informative journal, filled
with news about the development of the rolling plains."
About a month after he started publication, Lowry had the opportunity to cover a big local event -- the duel between
No copies of their papers are available, but Lowry proclaimed the story, " San Jacinto 's Day Celebrated by a Shooting
Match -- An Editorial Encounter in Which They Try to Prove That the Sword is Mightier Than the Pen." The Taylor County News printed the following story about the confrontation on
April 24, 1885 .
"San Jacinto’s Day Celebrated by a Shooting Match—An Editorial Encounter In Which They Try to Prove That The
Sword Is Mightier Than The Pen
"San Jacinto day was celebrated in Abilene by a shooting match between Gilbert and Gibbs.
C. E. Gilbert and W. L. Gibbs, the former the editor of the Reporter and the latter of the Quill,
had a difficulty in front of the First National Bank last Tuesday during which both parties brought their pistols
into play. Five shots were fired in all, and after the smoke of the battle had cleared away, Gilbert was found
to have received a glancing shot across the forehead, and Gibbs had a bruised arm by blow from a loaded whip. The difficulty is the
result of the newspaper warfare which has been going on for some time, and was hastened, probably, by an attack
made upon Taylor Thompson of the Quill force by Gilbert.
Both parties were arrested and placed under bonds. It is an affair which all good citizens cannot fail to regret."
This "Wild West Shoot Out" has generated a number of scholarly historical papers as well as a few dime
novels and supposedly even served as the plot for a western movie.
In her thesis on The Abilene Reporter-News, Mrs. Naomi
Kincaid wrote that "the old timers said the
fight came about because of Gibbs' remarks about Gilbert's opposition to labor unions."
"The two met on Pine Street , Gilbert armed
with a loaded buggy whip and a pistol, Gibbs with a "pepper" pistol. Five shots were fired. "Gilbert
received a glancing blow across the forehead and Gibbs had a bruised arm from a blow with a loaded whip," Lowry
wrote, "Gilbert, who had gone hunting before the fight, was charged with aggravated assault and fined $25
and costs. Possibly as an act of apology, Gilbert resigned as Methodist Sunday School superintendent."
(Abridged from Katharyn Duff's April 19, 1981 "The
Story of a Prairie Newspaper") The Magnetic Quill went out of business in September 1885, and The
Abilene Reporter and The Taylor County News continued.
The papers were competitive, but without personal bitterness. The Reporter
was a sometime daily, sometime weekly paper, according to the degree of local prosperity.
sold The Reporter in May 1886 to Dr. Alf H.H.
Toler of The Colorado (City) Clipper and moved to
Dallas where he purchased The Dallas Times. Later, he merged The Times with The Dallas Herald and for many years
was editor-publisher of the newspaper which bore the name he created for it (The Dallas Times-Herald) until it
The Taylor County News was purchased by the Abilene Reporter
in 1911. Under new owner Hanks, the newspaper grew. The
Reporter added a morning edition called the Abilene Morning News
on Sept. 1, 1926 , while keeping the Abilene Reporter
name for the afternoon edition. The names were combined in May 1937 to become The Abilene Reporter-News,
with morning, evening and Sunday editions.
More On The Taylor County News:
The US Historical Newspaper Guide (Library of Congress) has this information.
Title: The Taylorcounty
news. : ( Abilene , Tex. ) 1885-19??
Place of publication: Abilene, Tex.
Geographic coverage: Abilene , Taylor , Publisher: Lowry & Neely
Dates of publication: 1885-19??
Description: Vol. 1, no. 1 (Mar. 20, 1885)-
LCCN: sn 86088256
I do not know who Neely is and I must get the existing microfilm to get the data. I also would like to know more
about the paper itself and what sort of mischief James
A. Lowry may have stirred up in Texas .
When he printed comments on the severe drought that plagued the Panhandle of Texas, James A. Lowry flashed the
same dry wit shown in the Hardin County Gazette. "The weather has been so dry here for the last three weeks,"
noted in the Taylor County News, "that the wells are empty and the fish in the creeks are carrying toadstools
When hot and dry weather extremes in the 1880's caused the tragedy of cattle dying, people moving, and crops withering,
they didn't keep hardy pioneer Texans from joking (and James
A. Lowry from reporting) about the situation. Though
the first Lipscomb County settlers (North of Taylor County) maintained that the
rainfall was sufficient, this drought in 1885 and 1886 over the Texas Panhandle area hit the cattlemen hard. This
dry spell was such a rough one that an early settler wrote on a board nailed across the door of his cabin:
250 miles to nearest post office.
100 miles to wood.
20 miles to water.
6 inches to hell.
God bless our home.
Gone to live with the wife's folks.
"Through out his life, James A Lowery had an inquiring intellect. He had a wide range of interests including
history, archaeology, mineralogy, natural history, agriculture and climatology. He was a self educated man, and
for his day, he was well educated.
Perhaps James's own words describe his life the best. He saw himself as a "... soldier, editor, prospector
and recluse..." This passage is from Ed. Ferrell's 1999 Heritage Book publication, "Biographies and Genealogical
Abstracts from Hardin Co IL Newspapers 1872-1938", pp 241-244. Many details may also be found in "The
Hardin County Independent", September 1925.
In the September 10, 1925 issue, the "Hardin County Independent" reported, "J.A.
Lowry, pioneer newspaper man of Abilene , 84 years
old, is in a local hospital suffering from a broken hip. He was resting well Tuesday however." ( Abilene, Texasclipping.)
James Lowery, Hardin County 's pioneer editor, died
in Abilene , Texas on September 19, 1925
. ( TaylorCountyTexas,
Death Certificate 34103)
CountyGazetteClippings July 26, 1879
Copyright Albert Morgan - Jan 23, 2006
weekly newspapers were comprised of boiler plate advertisements, announcements, filler articles and notes from
other papers, and, of great interest to the readers, columns of local news. Stringers (correspondents from other
towns) also turned in births, deaths, gossips, commentary on their neighbors, rumors and editorial comment. One
line ads and editorial comment often appeared in the Local Intelligence column. With hand set type and a sheet
press putting a paper to bed could be a real chore. The real flavor of the town is often found in these clippings.
Original spelling has been kept. We are taking a leisurely stroll through the microfilm and will post when the
spirit moves us. It is like our own soap opera. Welcome to Southern Illinois in 1879.
July 26, 1879
Local Intelligence (Note: Compiled by James A. Lowry,
-Thermometer 99 Wednesday
-E & W Pleasants cannot be undersold for cash.
-Commissioners Court was in session last Monday
-Examine our stock of furniture. E & W Pleasants
-It was the preacher Bluford Rose whose boy got snake-bit.
-Especial inducements to cash buyers at E & W Pleasants.
-Mr. and Mrs. Henry Ferrell’s infant child died last
-We are in receipt of a poem this week which will appear the next issue.
-We have the nobbiest assortment of clothing in town. E & W Pleasants
-We learn that Hunter has taken charge of the saw mill
again, and will be sawing soon.
-George Shroll, a German who lived near the Pope County
line, died last Monday of consumption.
-The widow Lamberts’ house at Cave-in-Rock, caught fire,
and was considerably damaged last Saturday.
-Ulysses and Jimmie Gullett sent us some rocks and relics
this week for which they have our thanks.
-A list of deeds, mortgages, discharges &c., recorded by Capt. Twitchell and not called for will be published next week.
-We learn that Mrs. Starr of Rose Clare, who was charged
with assault and battery, had a trial before Judge Taylor
Saturday and was acquitted.
-Judge Taylor had John
Goodwin of Rose Clare brought into court last Saturday for boisterous conduct and
disturbing the court, and fined him ten dollars.
-Hon. R. W. Townshend, our efficient member of Congress,
will shortly be at his old home in Shawneetown, if he has not already arrived there.
-There are two or three advertisements in the GAZETTE which have run their time and should come out but the press
of work compels us to leave them in this week.
-Judge Taylor says that, in view of the fact that all
the attorneys are absent he will merely call court next Monday morning and adjourn to the fourth Monday in this
-Some one aroused Mrs. James Hetherington last Sunday
night trying to get into the kitchen and she raised the alarm, but before Mr. Hetherington could get down stairs they were gone.
-D. F. Frayser is agent for a fine hat-rack, which is
both useful and ornamental. When he visits our town we predict he will get quite a number of orders. Several gentlemen
in town already have one.
-William Mosley, sr., found the body of Mart Mosley last Friday evening nearly a half a mile below where he
was drowned, floating on down stream. He was brought here and buried.
- Givens and Chancelor have concluded to take their
picture tent to Cave-in-Rock for a few days. All who want a good picture at very low rates, should call on them
at once. There are clever gentlemen and first-class artists.
-Tom Wallace of Hurricane, Ky. , has just received a
letter from S. D. Bruce, editor of the Turf and Field, New York , stating that the pedigree of his mare “Belle Robertson” will appear in the 4th vol of the Stud Book. Belle Robertson went to Paducah this week to be trained and run by T. L. Jacob of Paducah .
- The presswork on the inside pages of this issue has been delayed on account of the editor making a trip to Shawneetown.
As we are about to do the final presswork we learn that the trial of Logan Belt has ended, and that the jury brought in a verdict of “guilty” and of “fifteen years in the penitentiary.”
A motion for a new trial will be argued Monday morning.
-If the Belts had not taken the trouble to circulate
the Shawnee Record extensively outside of its regular circulation, no attention whatever would have been paid to
his letter of last week. Hereafter nothing not having a direct bearing in the issues before the people will receive
any attention whatever, If the editor is attacked he has his remedys at law, and will not trouble the readers of
the GAZETTE with any thing in his own personal defense.
-D. F. Frayers great Stereopticon or magic lantern exhibition
will be held at the court house next Wednesday night. He will also exhibit at Rose Clare on Thursday night and
Carsville, KY. , on Friday night of next week. This will be your only chance of witnessing this choice
collection of gems so go and see them. Admission 25 cts, children 15 cts.
-Henry Woods of Rose Clare deserves great credit for
the prompt and valiant manner in which he discharged the duties of constable before Judge
Taylor’s court last Saturday.
Cave-in Rock Items (Compiled by Cheap Talk No. 2)
(Note: Items from specific towns and locations in Hardin were provided by correspondents who generally wrote under
a pen name. As these pieces were gossipy and full of innuendo the pen name was probably safer. Today we do the
same thing with our “user names” in our internet work.)
-Wheat threshing will soon be over.
-Some sneaking wretch tried to burn James Beaver’s wheat.
They succeeded in burning part of the fence, but the fire was found out in time to save the wheat.
- The James D. Parker (Note: Ohio River packet boat.)
put off a threshing machine here last Sunday for Coghill & Damon.
- The widow Lambert’s house came near burning up last
Saturday. By rapid work and the energy of the citizens, the fire was extinguished before a great deal of damage
- Our merchants are still shipping wheat.
- It is reported that the K. K. K. took Capt. Tyner out of his house and gave him a severe threshing.-[This
rumor is probably without foundation. – Ed.]
- Parson Oxford preached a very able sermon at the Christian
church last Sunday.
-Miller, who was shot last week by Mrs.
Dossett is revering under the treatment of Dr. Mozee.
-Prof. Fowler left for Eddyville last Sunday.
- How long, oh! How long will our country be molested with the crimes of lawless men who neither respect themselves
or their country? These crimes will continue as long as the better class of people remain quiet. Let us remonstrate
against the crimes which are casting a dark vail over our county which it will take years to remove. Let us, when
the time comes, put men in office who will not be scared or bluffed by men who make that their game. Is
it possible that a poor woman can be arrested and brought before the bar of justice who has not committed one-half
so great a crime as some have committed who are suffered to go free from arrest and prosecution? Yes; the women,
and the quiet men are jerked up with great promptitude and made to pay to “the uttermost farthing,” while another
class of men stand out like demons, free from arrest, defying law and order and putting the better class of citizens
to shame. I say, as do all who want our little county brought back to a plane of prosperity, arise! Put this down!
We can, we will, we must!
-Edward Mitchell is really glad it’s a boy.
Shetlerville Items (Note: Compiled by Rover.)
-Farmers have begun threshing wheat.
-Miss Ella Babey of Carrsville, KY., is receiving instruction
under Chas. Soward.
-Joe Shetler is shipping wheat from Allard’s Landing,
Rose Clare, and from his Rock Warehouse.
-John Davis has bought one of Hermann Bros., matchless
Patent Axle wagons.
-Potatoe Joe received 800 bushels of wheat in one day.
That is pretty good, Joe.
- The fourth of July celebration at the new Union school house was a grand success. There were over 1,000 people
present. Rev. Solomon Stone, and Rev.
P. L. Hooker made speeches, Henry Jenkins read the Declaration of Independence, and Charles Soward and his class of singers made music for the occasion. Dr. R. J. McGinis made an excellent speech. A first-class picnic lunch was served and everybody enjoyed themselves
fully. The lemonade stand was run by the district and the net proceeds of the stand amounted to $32.00 which will
be applied to the purchase of a library for the school.
- Hurrah for you. – Give it to the K. K. K.
-Note- For want of space we had to condense the above items a great deal, and hope our correspondent will excuse
us for doing so. – Ed. Gazette.
Odds and Ends (Quotes From Other Newspapers
Of The Day) -The Yonkers Gazette says that intellectual men are rarely handsome. Now we
know why we are so often mistaken for Ralph Waldo Emerson-(Utica
-Who was it that asked what is rarer than a day in June? We want to tell him to salt down the observation that
the 29th of February is. – ( Fond du Lac Reporter)
-The sale of striped stockings, it is said, is twice as large in prairie countries as it is in less breezy localities.
The reason is obvious- so are the stockings- (Ottawa Republican)
July 4, 1879Volume IX Number 27
Letter from California and a Kansas Report: (Note: Residents of Hardin County were extremely mobile in the 1880’s.
Traditionally families would encourage some members to move to “hot” new territories, evaluate prospects, and report
back. In this issue James A. Lowry received and printed notes from J. A. Ledbetter in California
and from his correspondent “Strata” in Kansas .)
Santa Barbara, Cal, June 19th 1879
Mr. Editor:- This is my birthday, and according to promise I now undertake to give the readers of your valuable
paper an account of Santa Barbara and lower
California, so far as I have learned.
As before stated, Santa Barbara is the most beautiful place in the world for one to live in. The climate is
so perfectly moderate and regular, now, at this time of year, (which is more or less hot in Southern Illinois),
the days are perfectly pleasant, and the nights cool enough to sleep under two blankets; and it is just that way
all the year There is no rain to bother anything; neither do we need it. The growing crops all look vigorous, and
the loose soil is perfectly moist within two or three inches of the surface.
The people do not work their crops any after planting, except there comes a rain afterward, in which case they
work their crops once, but never any after the rain stops. It don’t need it, as the weeds don’t grow and the soil
is perfectly loose and moist. Every kind of produce and fruit that grows any place in the world grows here, even
to the olive spoken of in holy writ, the fruit of which I have this day eaten. I have been shown gardens here that
are said to contain every variety of fruit, shrub, and flower to be found on the face of the earth; and from its
appearance I think ‘tis certainly correct.
And then our little city is the most beautifully built and ornamented of any place I ever saw. We have nine churches,
two high schools and several common schools, a forty-five thousand dollar court house, with jail and jailer’s residence
to correspond. Assessments are low, taxes low, and county orders worth 100 cents to the dollar.
There is one building in the center of the city, three stories high, with a large spire cupola on top in which
is constructed a huge clock with four faces, and a bell as large as an ordinary church bell, which can be heard
all over the city.
As a place of business, Santa Barbara is entirely overdone in every department; and the hard times has
stopped all kinds of work, so it is full of idle mechanics and laborers, and a great many are leaving for want
of employment. So you see, the only thing inviting about this city is its comfort and health, which can’t be beat.
Should any one come here at present to make money they would get deceived.
We have a good ocean view, and an excellent harbor; but it is of the country that I wish to speak most. It is generally
mountainous, but with large and very rich valleys that produce every variety of crops abundantly. Our hays are
different to those of Illinois ; they are of barley and native oats. The pastures contain something similar in
appearance to red clover called alfalfa: it has a root that goes numbers of feet down in the ground. Wheat, corn,
potatoes, and all other products grow abundantly and yield largely. This is also a fine stock raising country.
Sheep are never spoken of here except by the thousands- never as so many head, or so many hundreds, - but as so
many thousands. It is also a fine country for cattle. There is a native growth here called bur clover which grows
very abundantly in the spring, and after the dry season sets in it dries down in beds, with a kind of burs, which
stock is very fond of, and thrive well on it all summer. The rains commence about the last of October, and then
everything is green again until about the middle of May.
There is no timber in this part of country except live oak, and just enough of that for cooking and warming purposes.
It dies not require much for warming purposes, as the climate is so mild we do not need it. All the fencing is
done with either posts and plank or posts and wire, and stock is not allowed to run at large here except in charge
of a herder.
Good land is so high here that I would not advise anyone to come here with a view of farming unless he has a large
capital to invest, as land fit for farming ranges from $25 to $100 per acre, according to quality and improvements.
The price of produce is about as low as in Illinois , and all kinds of stock are about as low; but merchandise
will average 25 per cent higher than in Illinois . So you can see that there is nothing inviting to the poor man
either in the country or the town, unless, as I said before it is the health and comfort to be found here. This
is about as far as I can report at present, and it is about as correct and unvarnished a statement as I can give.
Oh! I had nearly forgotten to mention that two very large whales passed Santa
Barbara yesterday morning; they were seen rolling
up the channel by quite a number of people. [Insert by James A. Lowry: Oh, please sir, have
one placed in alcohol and sent to the Gazette office; the editor has always wanted a whale very badly. –Ed.]
Nothing more at present. Respects to all friends. J.
Thinking that perhaps a little Kansas gossip would not be unwelcome reading to your readers, I therefore
endeavor to interest them for a short time.
The most important thing to a Kansan, more especially the merchants and farmers, is
The Corn and Wheat Crop
In this portion of the State the winter wheat is decidedly the best, especially that put in with drills; the straw
is short but well headed, and in most cases tolerably thick on the ground. Spring wheat is almost, if not entirely
a failure. Acres upon acres headed out and the straw was not six inches long, while there are numbers of acres
that will not head at all. Oats are light and won’t be what is considered a half crop. When you strike us on corn
we have you. Corn is looking splendid. Farmers generally have taken great pains to cultivate it thoroughly, and
you can pass field after field without detecting a sprig of grass or seeds in any of them. The acreage too,
is almost double that of last year.
As you have all no doubt, read of our cyclone that passed over Kansas a short time ago, I will skip that and proceed to expand on Beloit’s
latest sensation, viz:
A Genuine Hail Storm
Which occurred here on the night of the 10th inst (June 10, 1879). We had been having prospects of rain all day,
but none fell, and towards evening the atmosphere became heavy and oppressive. About it began to rain, mingled with the hail. The wind was from the north, but it suddenly changed
to the northeast, and then the destruction began. Hailstones fell weighing all the way from nine to seventeen ounces,
and perhaps larger. (No one cared to risk getting his cranium cracked by hunting up larger ones.) For fifty-eight
minutes this was kept up without ceasing, each stone seeming to fall heavier than the ones before it. There was
no regularity about them, some falling that were round, while others were square, oblong, &c. There was not
a building with windows facing the northeast but what had the glass totally demolished. Tin and iron roofs stood
not show at all. The hail passed through them almost as though made of paper. In many cases, after passing through
roofs and sheathing, it passed on down through the ceiling, falling on the floor beneath. The damage to the town,
as near as could be ascertained, was about eight thousand dollars. Luckily for the farmers the track of the storm
was not more than one mile in width, so the crops were not much injured. The next day we had a glass famine, there
being not enough glass in the town to repair the broken windows; however a new supply has been received since,
and once again the town presents its usually pleasant aspect.
We bow come to the theme nearest and dearest to a Beloitites heart, the great KansasPacific
You are aware that the Central branch of the Union Pacific R. R., runs through this place, this being the terminus
until recently. Now the H** Pacific or ***** Valley branch of it, the present terminus being Minneapolis, Ottawa,
Co., has submitted a proposition to our county that if we vote them fifty thousand dollars, bonds, they will build
the road to this place. There will be an election held July 8th, next, so that it is a matter of some doubt
yet whether the bonds will carry or not. Should they carry, Beloit will profit thereby. But she has not been lying dormant since the
Central Branch went on; not by any means.
We have a foundry just completed and numerous business and dwelling houses. Our hotels are crowded all the time.
Soldiers and Sailors Reunion which is to be held at this place July 3d, 4th and 5th; already a great many
companies have been organized in the northwest, and a grand time is expected. As usual, earnest speakers are to
be present, one of whom, it is rumored, will be Gen.
John A. Logan. A cavalry company has been organized
by the boys in town, and the sport in drilling every evening is immense. A grand ball is to be given by the band
boys on the night of the 4th in the Opera House, and let me remark right here that we have a home Minstrel Troupe
that has met with success from the beginning.
We must either close this letter or you must enlarge the paper; so with kindest regards to the Gazette I remain
Yours Truly, STRATA