[transcription of an 1887 publication]

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Energy is the key to success.  Enterprise is the countersign of all legitimate ambition.

But unfortunately, energy and enterprise are often the property and the peculiar characteristics of the unprincipled and unscrupulous, as well as of the honest and honorable.  They may be possessed by the disreputable schemer, as well as by the business man of character and integrity.  They may be the peculiar traits of the thief, the highwayman, the robber, as well as of the most intelligent forwarder of some great popular belief.

The modern flood of Western immigration has been brought about by energy and enterprise.

True, it was born of principles akin to these.  True, it was a movement self-conceived, irresistible, inevitable.  But it was fathered and furthered and assisted by yet other energy and enterprise.

To the man weary of the crowded and unfriendly East;  weary of toil without recompense;  weary of a life whose night held no ray of promise for a brighter day, the West extended her greeting and her invitation.  There, in the unknown West, lay Hope, lay possibilities.

But the West was unknown.  It lay an unexplored sea.  It lay needful of a pilot.  It lay with the rocks, the reefs, the barren shores which any sea must hold.  There was need of advice, of knowledge, of a guide.

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And there were guides enough.  True guides and false;  guides real and pretended;  but usually guides of energy and enterprise.  Now it was the railway companies, now private individuals, who had pushed ahead into the unknown land, and, having acquired interests there, sought either to dispose of them or to enhance their value by voicing praises of the land wherein they lay.  Now it was the honest and fair-dealing business man who had something to say about the West, and now it was the audacious sharper, eager only for a dupe, a victim.  Men, corporations, companies, individuals;  honest men, business men, sharks, thieves, rogues, robbers, highwaymen – all united in volunteering information and assistance to the would-be settler.

The West was advertised.  It was advertised with energy and enterprise.  Never was anything advertised so well.  Good, bad and indifferent, it was all advertised well.  The bad parts were advertised better than the good.  They had to be.  That is true to-day.  The most inferior parts of Kansas to-day, for instance, are being most energetically advertised by unscrupulous men.

In the midst of all this flood of real and pretended information about the West, how should the immigrant choose?  He was plied with bombastic circulars, folders, pamphlets, books, maps, and “real estate guides,” each and all of which assured him, in words the most glowing, that this or that particular section of country was the only one on earth for him if he wanted to be rich and happy, and to live without work or care.  And if by chance he was enabled to determine a locality to visit, he was, upon his arrival, so assailed, beset, tormented by curb-stone “brokers,” “agents,” and God knows what of other heartless sharks and sharpers, that he was lucky if he escaped with either mind or purse intact.

The system of Western land advertising, tainted as it was by pal-

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pable untruthfulness, fell into disrepute.  More than that, it was often impossible to tell the truthful from the false, so ingeniously or plausibly were misrepresentation and deceit often hidden under a veil of apparent candor.  The public grew accustomed to hearing the charms of this or that locality lauded to the skies;  and gradually it learned to pass by each new pretentious effort with more or less credulous indifference.

To-day the case is not different.  The honest and energetic business advertiser comes into competition with the untruthful and unprincipled.  His statements must bear a scrutiny often tempered by a suspicion which once was warranted.  His words must run the risk of being passed without notice or without belief.  All that he can do is to be strictly honorable and truthful himself, and then to beg for his words the most rigid scrutiny, and the most careful investigation of the claims to which he makes pretensions.  In short, he must alike defy and invite the most unsparing criticism.

The compilers of these pages hand them to you as an advertisement.  Keep them.  They may be of service to you or to a friend.  Read them.  Read between the lines if you like.  We submit that we have shown energy and enterprise in preparing so elaborate and artistic a presentation of our town for you.  We agree that we were interested in doing this.  But we challenge you to find one word of untruthfulness between these covers, or one marked by want of candor.  The compilers are not beginners in business.  They have their characters to maintain.  They cheerfully ask you to examine into their references and their records, if you like.  And they will be more than pleased—they will have done all they wished, if they shall have induced you to investigate the claims which they make for their well-placed, well-founded and well-named young city of Sterling.

Any reading matter which is professedly circulated for advertising

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purposes is liable to mistrust;  but the compilers wish to say that they have taken the greatest care to avoid that exaggeration which is so common and so dangerous, and to forbear from empty vaporings of past successes, as well as from vague and indefinite rhetoric.  This little work holds the latest information obtainable from official records as to crops, yields, etc., and it is hoped that this and the other information offered is presented in as accessible a form and as clear a manner as possible.

The compilers deal not alone with the past, although the past is interesting.  It is the present which is uppermost in all men’s minds to-day.  And it is the Kansas of to-day, and the present outlook of their country and their community, which they have endeavored to set forward.

That they might the better do this, they have enlisted the expensive services of two special artists in illustrating their work, and have spared no pains in their effort to be conscientiously pleasing and honestly instructive.  In return for their trouble in preparing these pages, they ask only that – you may turn the pages.

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Chapter I.

The History of Sterling in Epitome.—A Hasty Sketch of Her Early Days.—Born in “Peace”, She Lives in Plenty.

The history of Sterling as an incorporated city goes back but eleven years.  It was only in 1875 that she received her charter as a city of the third class.  Before that date she had scant four years of frontier existence.  Sterling was originally christened by the mild name of Peace.  She has lost that name;  yet peace has ever abode within her walls, and prosperity within her gates.

In the Fall of 1871 a company was formed in Topeka, known as the Agricultural Colony of Kansas, the original and charter members of which were C. D. Bradley, H. P. Ninde, J. B. Slichter, Mahlon Stubbs, William Hunt, H. H. Harris, and Dr. Hunt.  Among those added afterwards were H. T. Besse, Clarkson Taber, Geo. McPherson and others.  The year of 1871 was early in the history of Kansas.  All this great region now so full of life and energy;  of wealth, intelligence, culture;  of hope and happiness, and pleasure, and success, was then an unbroken and almost untracted waste, roamed only by the hunter and the scout.  Instead of herds of cattle, there were the countless millions of the buffaloes;  and where now the smoke curls up from thousands of happy homes, only the thin shaft from the tepee-fire of the wandering savage shot up into the morning sky.  Following along the great natural artery of the Arkansas River, the old Santa Fe Trail crawled in its slow life.  Only, along this trail, pushing on with the life of another day, cam the iron trail of the great Santa Fe road, since to play so great a part in revolutionizing Kansas.

It was the object of this Agricultural Colony to locate, somewhere along the line of this Santa Fe Railway, a colony of farmers, and to establish a community well in advance of that new civilization which it was wisely foreseen would soon make the old desert blossom like the rose.  The Terminus of the road was then away back at Newton, which was then a tough railroad town of about one hundred inhabitants, all hard citizens.

The company made its first exploring trip in the latter part of December, 1871, and following the railway survey out to the western border of Rice county, pitched upon a spot which lay in the midst of a vast, fertile, and then unoccupied tract of land.  Scattered about in

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this young domain were several new communities.  Union City had been started by an Ohio colony.  Atlanta, then the county seat, and situated on the old Santa Fe Trail, was an ambitious city of perhaps thirty inhabitants.  There were also several little settlements along Cow Creek.  The county was already organized, and ready for business.

The company made a second trip during the first week of January, 1872, and finally determined its location.  Accordingly the town of Peace was surveyed upon the 15th day of that month, and the work of building the city was begun.  A Town Company was formed under the incorporate name of the Peace Town Company.  It consisted of a board of five—three members chosen by the railroad company and two chosen by the Agricultural Colony.  The head office of the Peace Town Company was in Topeka, and the local office was at Peace;  Mr. H. P. Ninde being the local agent.  The first building was erected south of town on the claim of H. P. Ninde, now known as the Wilson Keys farm.

This first building was a curiosity in its way, and so truly characteristic of the time that it may be of some interest to say something of it.  It was moved over from the town of Peabody by Mr. E. Hadlock before the town site of Peace was surveyed.  It was so built that the west

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slope of the roof would drop its gatherings upon the adjoining claim.  An addition was built to this to hold the claim now known as the Dr. Potter farm.  The main building contained four rooms below and one above.  In one of these rooms Messrs. Landis & Hollinger opened out a stock of general merchandise.  The portions of the building not needed for merchandise were used for a hotel, under the proprietorship of E. Hadlock and lady.  It was also used on the Sabbath for religious service and Sabbath-school.  The addition was a room eight by ten feet.  It was occupied by Mr. Ninde, and contained the usual amount of household goods needful in those days.  It contained the postoffice, land office, Peace Town Company office, and surveyor’s office, and was the headquarters for all council and board meetings, and general business and legal transactions for the town and county, for about six months.  The main building was afterward used for a dwelling, and later it was converted into a barn.  It was since taken down, and the material has been variously used in the building of stables and out-buildings on Mr. Keys’ farm.

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Messrs. Landis & Hollinger erected the first building on the town site on the lot now occupied by the Rice County bank, and on May 10, 1872, moved their stock of goods into it, and opened out a general trade in groceries, dry goods, queensware, boots and shoes, hardware, lumber, grain, furniture, farm implements, paints, oils, drugs, buffalo hides and buffalo beef.  In fact, nearly all the present branches of business in Sterling were then represented by this one firm.  At this time there were only five buildings within a radius of five miles from the center of the town site.

The growth of the town was very slow about this time.  Raymond was “booming” under the illusion of the Texas cattle trade.  It had thirteen saloons, several dance houses, five or six store buildings, and had voted bonds for a $10,000 school house, and was the terminus of the Salina, Atlanta & Raymond Railroad.  Rice county voted $150,000 bonds to build this road.  The A., T. & S. F. R. R. Co. and Peace Town Company jointly entered suit against the S., A. & R. R. R. Co., and enjoined these bonds, and thus rid the county of a monster fraud.

On the 26th day of June, 1872, at 4 P. M., the first train arrived at Peace.  This was a construction train of about forty cars;  and of all the days of this town, there never was one of greater interest.  To see a construction train such as this was, that will build from two to three miles of track in a day, is no ordinary sight.  On the morning of the 26th the smoke of the engine could be seen two miles east, and on the evening of the 27th it camped two miles west of town.

With the advent of the railroad the town assumed new importance in its own eyes, and began to make some plans for the future, which it felt was to be its own.  To what extent the ambitions of the community reached may perhaps be shown by the story of the first school building of the town.  The first school meeting in Rice county was held at the old “Green Mountain House” early in September, and resulted in the organization of School District No. 1.  Bonds were voted, and a school house twenty-five by forty feet was erected near the spot where the present building is located, on College Square.  The

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School Board were criticised and censured for building so large a house!  It was claimed that this town would never grow to the dimensions to need such school accommodations!  The present school buildings could not then be dreamed of.

During the years 1873-4 the town enjoyed a lively and healthy growth.  The grasshopper plague, in July, 1874, put a temporary check upon the business growth of both town and country.  But this check was only temporary.  The grasshoppers have never returned.  Four years of unbounded fruitfulness succeeded the grasshopper plague.  And unprecedented tide of emigration flooded the Arkansas valley, and the government land for over one hundred miles west of this point was soon taken and occupied by actual settlers.  Much of the railroad lands were purchased by those who had means to improve them. A new era seemed to open up for this great West.  That these rich lands were destined to become the real garden of the west seemed manifest to all who beheld them.  Five successive bountiful wheat harvests gave the country an earth-wide reputation, and this whole country was called the great wheat belt of the west, and boomed under that cry.  The town of Peace enjoyed its full share of this boom;  and so rapid was its growth that in April, 1875, it had already reached the necessary population to become, as we have said, an incorporated city of the third class;  whereupon it put away childish things, shook off even the name of its youth with the dust of early and forgotten days, and entered upon its future life as the prosperous city of Sterling.

What that future has been and will be;  and what Sterling, her surroundings, and her actual advantages are to-day, will be set forth in future chapters, for which we beg your continued attention.

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[Broadway Street Scene, Sterling, Kansas]

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Chapter II.

Geographical Location of Sterling.—Her Fortunate Situation in the Pick of the Agricultural Lands.

She is the Key of the Arkansas Valley, and She Locks the Door for None.

The Natural Commercial Point of a Vast Section of Territory, and General Distributing Depot for the Surrounding Country.

There may be some who do not know where Sterling is.  The reader may happen to be one of that number—which it is the especial purpose for these pages to reach.  We do not talk to those who know all about Sterling, but to those who do not.  To these we are glad to say that Sterling is the largest town in Rice county, and is situated but a few miles from the geographical center of Kansas, in the heart of the richest portion of the rich Arkansas valley.

There are some lands in Kansas which, by reasons of their rough, or sandy, or barren nature, are not desirable for agricultural purposes.  There are such lands in any state.  But lands of this character are not found in the valley of the Arkansas.  The only trouble about that is, that the valley lands form so small a portion of the whole country.  We do not mean to say that the other lands are not often, and usually,

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good;  but only to say that the valley lands are usually the richest and freest from waste;  and that usually a town commands only a comparatively small area of these lands.

It is Sterling’s especial fortune to have at her command so large an acreage, or mileage, of these exceptionally fertile lands.  A glance at a map will show the reason for this.  Some twenty miles down the river Cow creek empties into the Arkansas, yet there is no dividing ridge of any prominence between the valleys of the two streams for ten miles above this place.  The distance between the streams here is about eight miles.  The several streams of which the Cow creek is composed unite at a point nearly north from Sterling, and their valleys blend for long distance, giving in the central portion of Rice county one of the largest and most fertile tracts of level land to be found in the West.

All this rich country—and nothing but a look at it will be just to its claims for richness—is directly tributary to Sterling;  it trades there, takes the railroad there, and depends upon that town for its supplies.  But that is not all.  Besides this great stretch of territory there is the valley and the rich rolling prairie of the Little Arkansas, to which Sterling is also the key.

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Upon the south side of the Big Arkansas, connected with the north side by a permanent free bridge, comes in the wide valley of Peace creek, and a magnificent country stretching away to the southwest.

Farther than this, Sterling has behind her unlimited reaches of the noble “high prairie,” which, rising up beyond the low bluffs of the Arkansas, stretch off and away, in gently swelling undulations of brown, and gray, and black, and green, where grass, or crops, or settlers’ plow most mark the patient and prolific earth.  We do not exaggerate—we do not need, and do not dare, to exaggerate when we say that Sterling is thus, by the fortituous [sic] circumstance of her location, placed in the heart of a vast region whose natural fertility is not surpassed in the West.

There is not a foot of waste land within twenty miles of Sterling.

The surrounding country, while not yet all taken up by actual occupants, is thickly settled with a prosperous class of farmers.  The town has never been “boomed” under any of that feverish and pernicious affliction which is but too prevalent in Western towns.  Her growth has been sure and solid.  Sterling does not want the earth.  She does not say

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that she is the only town on earth where you should go.  She does not try to force you to locate there.  she only modestly tries to present her actual advantages to you, in a fair and careful way.  This disposition on the part of the town and of her business men has proved the best possible policy.  The town is not ahead of the country, but has plenty of country to back it.  It draws trade from the country fifteen, twenty-five, and even thirty miles round about, and holds its trade, too.  The streets are usually lively, often crowded.

Sterling is located on the through line of the great Santa Fe Railway, and thus has direct communication with the markets of the East and West.  But she is not restricted in her railway facilities.  The famous Rock Island Route, which has astonished the world by its rapid inroads on Kansas territory during this present year, has made the town one of its main points.  The Abilene, Sterling & Southwestern Railway, for which bonds are voted, which is under construction, and which will be completed during the coming Spring, is owned and will be operated by the Rock Island, as a part of its system in Kansas.  A town could not have two better roads than the Santa Fe and the Rock Island.

But these are not all.  The Missouri Pacific road is already located

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through and beyond the town, and is building on both sides of it.  The cars will be at Sterling by January 1, 1887.  Thus the great Gould system will also lend a helping hand.

The Ft. Smith, Kansas & Nebraska Railroad also has bonds voted, and is under contract for a long distance north of Sterling.  This road will be built during the coming year.  It will open up a great Southern system, the chief points of which are Memphis, New Orleans and Galveston.

Rice county will have 212 miles of railroad built within her borders at the end of the coming year.

Sterling has just completed arrangements for a system of water works, which will be put in as much as possible this winter.  In all probability the plant will be extended to embrace gas works also, and then very probably the electric light.  This is very commonly the case in Kansas towns.

Sterling already has a complete telephone exchange, and is connected by telephone with Lyons, Stafford and St. John.

Not to be behind in any way in the line of march of modern progress, this live, energetic and thoughtful young city has recently taken a step which will secure educational advantages not approached by any town in Kansas.

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(Cooper Memorial College, Sterling)

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On October 21, 1886, Sterling secured the establishment with herself of the Cooper Memorial College, which will be the denominational college of the United Presbyterian Church of North America.  To influence the location of this great educational institution, Sterling gave ten acres of her best ground—a lofty site only three-fourths of a mile from the center of town, and commanding a grand view of the surrounding country—and at once erects a $25,000 edifice to give the college proper housing.  To offset this princely liberality, the United Presbyterian Church of North America endows the institution with the magnificent sum of $100,000.  Thus set on its feet, with no indebtedness to meet and no begging to do, this college can at once set about its work as one of the leading educational centers of the West.  Its faculty will be made up of the ablest minds;  its appliances will be perfect;  it will furnish what Kansas needs—a place where higher training can be afforded her more ambitious youth.  The elegant building which will be the nucleus of this college will be completed and occupied by its first classes on September 1, 1887.

Sterling does an immense business in all lines of trade.  To meet the requirements placed upon her she has now three

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Grain elevators, three lumber yards, two flouring mills (roller process), two sorghum and sugar mills, one sawing and planing mill, two brick yards, five dry goods, eight grocery, three hardware, three jewelry, three boot and shoe, three notion, and five drug stores, besides two bakeries, four restaurants, four hotels, four blacksmith shops, broom factory, two photograph galleries, five millinery and dress making establishments, a First National and two other banking institutions, etc.

Sterling has a large and handsome school house, costing $10,000, eight church buildings, and three church organizations without any regular place of worship.

Sterling spent about $10,000 during the past year in curbing, street grading, drainage, and other public improvements.

The First National Bank building, erected in 1885, is, without exception, one of the finest and best finished structures in this western country.

The International Roller Mill, built in 1884, has perhaps no equal in this country.  The Crystal flour it manufactures speaks for itself.  This mill has a capacity of 150 barrels of flour in twenty-four hours, and contains all the latest improved machinery.

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The Transcontinental Hotel, built in 1884, is in every respect a first class hotel, and one of the largest in this valley.

Goodson’s Opera House, erected in 1880, contains one of the most capacious halls in this part of the country.  The arrangements are most complete and artistic, and such as will accommodate themselves to the most popular performance as well as to the ordinary lecture.

Sterling is especially noted for its fine residences and neat cottages, its superior church and school privileges, the culture and social qualities of its people, the energy and enterprise of the whole citizenship.  All these things put together make it a desirable home for those who are seeking health;  for those who are seeking a comfortable place to live, and for those who may wish to find a place for profitable business.

The price of property in Sterling is yet low, compared with the improvements and prospects of the town, and can be purchased at prices which are simply speculative in their advantages, as everything now looks as if there would be, under the advent of the three new railroads, one of those sudden accessions in value which so often and so swiftly set in growing Kansas towns.

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There are grand openings in Sterling for several manufacturing enterprises, and it is to be hoped that these greatest blessings to a western town may soon be present in yet greater numbers.  A tannery, a paper mill, a foundry, an implement factory, a button, a glove and hat factory—all of these enterprises are worthy the consideration of men of capital and energy, and would all flourish and make money.

It seems strange that men will fill the cities, starve themselves and families, while in the West—in Kansas—independence and a promise of plenty stand upon the threshold, ready to welcome all who come to labor and to do their share.  On every side here may be seen those who a few years ago were penniless, and who now, by diligence, thrift and energy, have become living reproaches to the men of any country who plead poverty, and claim they cannot get work to do.

If thousands who are now living in destitution and misery, rearing children in damp basements or high attics, would come to our free prairies they might soon hold up their heads among men, and give to their children other inheritance than poverty, and something beside contempt for their parents.

If a preference for city life is their excuse for living in misery and poverty, it is a very flimsy one, for in Kansas may be found cities,

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towns and villages which for activity and bustle will compare favorably with the older ones of the East.

Kansas cities differ materially, however, from the over-crowded and air-poisoned cities of the eastern states.  Here in Kansa we have delightful weather, pure air, and very few cases of sickness, want or distress.  The man who is willing to work can always find employment, be he mechanic or laboring man.

To the reader, be he business man, capitalist or laborer, we put the question, Are you happy?  Are you contented?  Are you doing right by your children?  Do you want to know more about the West?  Do you not think Sterling would please you?

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Chapter III.

Rice County, The Banner County of the State.—A Few Words in Regard to its Settlement and Development.

And Reasons Why the Settler Should Go There Rather than Further West.

The time when what is now Rice county was considered a part of the Great American Desert, when it was roamed over by the red man and the buffalo, is not very far in the past.  Less than fifteen years ago the pioneer came, thinking his gun his best dependence, little dreaming of the undeveloped wealth in the soil all about him.

To-Day this desert stands acknowledged one of the best counties in the best state in the Union.  Its latest census shows a population of 12,000 as against the five which was the sum total of the white inhabitants in 1862.  These later years show vast fields of wheat, corn, and other produce, as against the wild men and wild animals of the not distant past.  Rice county is doing her full share toward making Kansas what it has been called, “The main storehouse of the nation’s support.”  Owing to an exceptional winter, the wheat crop last year was a comparative failure, but this has not happened for years before, and in all probability will not again for years in the future.

Rice county is within the great “wheat belt,” having on her eastern border McPherson county, the proved greatest wheat producing county


in the world.  Our soil is much the same as hers, and we think, only needs the things which come with longer settlement—larger population, less unbroken prairie, and more thorough tillage—to make it fully the equal of its neighbor.

The land is high rolling prairie, with a few sand hills along the Arkansas River, in its southern border.  It is all good farming land and is settled, for the most part, by a thrifty, intelligent class of farmers.  It is also admirably adapted to stock raising, and many fine “bunches” of cattle, herds of ponies, and droves of hogs are found within its borders.

Though so short a time has elapsed since its first settlement, yet many beautiful homes have taken the places of the earlier sod houses and dugouts;  where these still remain, or have been more recently fashioned to meet the wants of late comers, they have taken on a cozy, comfortable look, which tells of thrift and measurable success.  Many of these are surrounded by beautiful groves, where the buffalo grass and the sunflower made the only shade a few years ago.  Many also have fine orchards—though these are fewer than they should be because of the early opinion that “the desert” could grow nothing but cotton and box alder of the tree kind.  Some of these are now bearing fine and well-flavored fruit, and the rest

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are giving goodly promise for the future.  Berries, cherries, currants, and all kinds of small fruits are also receiving a good share of attention, and proving the country to be well adapted to their culture.

The whole number of acres in the county is 484,800.  About half of these are under cultivation as yet, but the prairie land is being rapidly subjected to the tickling of the plow.  As has been already intimated, these acres are all tillable—at least the percentage of untillable is too small for computation.

As in nearly all of Kansas, and to a greater degree than in some parts of it, all the new labor-saving machinery is in use.  The old style “back east” implements are scarcely seen.  The riding plows, corn planters, listers, sulky rakes, twine binders, etc., make farming in this prairie country a light task comparatively, and enable one man with one team to farm to an extent which would astonish the natives of the hilly, stony, stumpy farms of the east.  These things, taken together with the rich, fertile, loamy soil, combine to make this the farmer’s paradise.  Nearly every crop grown in the temperate zone finds our climate congenial.  Corn and wheat have been already mentioned.  Broom corn is also largely raised.  So is sorghum, the

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sugar from which received the recognition of a premium at the late World’s Exposition at New Orleans.

Besides the farming and stock interests, there are various manufactories—in their infancy as yet, but giving promise for the future.  Prominent amount these are the milling interests.  Large flouring mills with patent rollers and other modern improvements are in operation in Sterling, and grinding up the wheat and exporting flour to various points both east and west.  There are also broom factories working up for home and outside use one of the country’s principal products, as likewise syrup and sugar mills for giving proper attention to another of her staples.  There are several brickyards turning out a good quantity of brick, which are being used in the construction of handsome business and dwelling houses.  There are several smaller industries represented, and room for more, if conducted by men of push who can abide the day of small things without becoming unduly discouraged.

Rice county has an advantage over the East, and even over some parts of Kansas in the herd law.  This requires every owner of stock to look after his own and not require his neighbor to do it for him.  Consequently the expense of fencing is not great, and the unsightly “worm fence” is

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not seen.  To one accustomed to the small fields of the eastern states, it seems almost as though the whole of Rice county were in one’s dooryard.  Yet in reality there is a great deal of fence of one kind or another—the Osage orange hedge, serving the triple purpose of wind break, beautifier of the landscape and fence—the wire fence about pasture land and barn corrals, and a few board and picket fences around town lots.  But for these fences, the expense falls where it belongs—on the owners of the stock guarded by it, and not on his neighbors.  And indirect benefit is that it encourages the raising of better stock.  If a man is obliged to fence for stock he naturally wants stock worth fencing for.  An inferior article will not suite him as it would in the days when the whole state was free pasture.  As a consequence we see fine blooded stock here and there all over the county in place of the scrub ponies, Texas cows and razor-backed hogs of a few years ago.

Rice county, for one so recently settled, is well supplied with schools and churches.  There are ninety school houses in the county, ranging from the sod house remaining in a few of the outlying districts, to the $12,000 or #14,000 brick building of six and eight rooms in Sterling.  The majority, however, are good, comfortable frame

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structures, where the boys and girls of this new country have opportunities above the average for making their start up the hill of science.  The teachers are of good ability, and the scholars, as a rule, in such a high state of discipline as to be a constant wonder to educators from the East who may come among us and study them.

Of churches, all the leading denominations are represented in the county, many of them with several different buildings and organizations.  Others are being planted in various parts as fast as the growth of population and religious sentiment demand it.

The climate of Kansas, and not the least of this part of it, is a marvel to all new comers.  While we have some cold days in Winter, and some hot ones in Summer, yet there is scarcely a place to be found where the weather is so delightful as a whole.  Hot nights are almost unknown, being tempered with cool breezes.  The Summer is hot enough to mature good corn crops—as witness the magnificent yield of last year—yet the sultry, muggy days of lower altitudes are scarcely known.  The season is also long, so that a late planting, even that which for some reason may not get into the ground until July, often matures.  We have, too, some cold, stormy, disagreeable days in Winter, yet the pleasant invigorating ones are largely in the majority.  The winter roads form a feature

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which should not be overlooked in cataloguing the good points of this county.  Hard and smooth as a floor where well traveled, nearly always dry and seldom dusty, they are a constant source of wonder to the see-saw between freezing and thawing, with consequent alternating roughness and mud, of other states.

As one of the results of good climate, high prairie and good drainage, is the healthfulness of the county.  This is a matter which every body should consider well in selecting a home.  There is sickness here, of course, but the most of it is either imported or brought on by carelessness or imprudence.  Some came here to die, as they express it, who are now, under the genial influence of our pure, dry, exhiliarating [sic] air, enjoying better health than for years in the past.  Some among us had their death warrants from their back east physicians a dozen years ago, but coming to this bracing climate are still defying the execution of it, and are in the possession of at least average health and strength.

Rice county is abundantly supplied with good, wholesome drinking water to be found at a depth of from six to twenty-five feet, according to the elevation of the ground.  For stock there are numerous creeks emptying into the Arkansas and Little Arkansas, one of which

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flows through the southern and the other through the eastern part of the county.  For irrigating purposes the clouds of heavy supply in copious showers, and even tempt our farmers sometimes to cry, “Hold, enough!”  And this is the desert where a few short years ago it was thought to be certain starvation to attempt to live by farming.

As has already been said, this is comparatively a treeless country;  yet there is a fair share of timber along the water courses, and many farmers have groves of young trees already growing about them.  Some get their supply of fuel from the trimming and pruning of these natural and cultivated tracts of timber.  For the most part, however, the people depend on coal brought to them from the east and west—from the mines of Kansas and Colorado.

The markets of the country are also eastward and westward.  Cattle, hogs, corn, wheat, broom corn, hay, butter, eggs, and poultry, are all shipped, some to the east and north, some to the mining country of Colorado and New Mexico.  With Colorado largely devoted to mining and grazing as it must needs be, it must always send out a loud call to the fertile prairies of Kansas for the necessities of the table and the feeding pen.

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Is There Land in Rice County for Sale?

There is.  There is plenty of it for sale, and good land, too;  and it is offered at prices which are really low.  To the eastern investigator, it is a matter of surprise how much land is in the market, and sometimes he may think that there is some undesirable reason in this fact.  He wonders at the number of farms and claims which are for sale.  He is met at the depot, on the street, in the stores, by the man who has land for sale or wants to sell his farm.  They go into a land office and they can find most anything in the way of a farm they want, for sale, and it is not surprising that they stop to think and ask the question why, as it appears to them, does everybody want to sell out?  After they become acquainted they will find that the men who want to sell are those who took up government land solely for the purpose of staying on it until they could sell out for a few hundred dollars, in that way to make a raise of a little money;  or the land offered belonged to single men who are tired living on a claim;  in some cases claim holders get sick and desire to return to the east.  But the man who has got a family and came west to secure a home has got no land for sale;  he has got just what he came after, and will hold on to it.  They are the men who will make good homes, raise good cattle, horses, hogs and sheep;  they are the men who will secure independence and make the country rich.  This is true of every county in the state, and Rice county is no exception.  No matter where you go in the western states, claims and farms are advertised for sale or trade, and the restless spirit of the native American will never be entirely quiet until he quits this world of ours.

Why Not Go Further West, for Government Land?

There is no government land left untaken in Rice county.  Can you show us whese [sic] there is?  Only a very little is left, and in another year there will not be any.  In the extreme western and southwestern part of the state, in a country which is barren, unwatered, dry, rainless;  where you have to go from one hundred to three hundred feet for water,

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and get poor water at that;  where the railroads have not penetrated, and have nothing to induce them to penetrate;  where educational and social privileges are unknown;  where the rude border elements of society—the cowboy, the gambler, the desperado—are the only neighbors;  there, we say, you can still homestead a little land.  The tree claims are all taken.

No, you can go out there if you want to.  You can take up a homestead, and condemn yourself and family to banishment and penal servitude.  But you can’t raise a crop there, no matter what the unscrupulous land agents say.  You can’t raise enough to buy your land at the government price.  Your living will be expensive.  You will have to pay every time you turn around.  And by the time you have “proved up,” your land will have cost you $3, $5, and $6 an acre, instead of $1.25.  You try it and see.

On the other hand, you can come to Rice county and buy land at prices ranging from $5 to $25 per acre, according to its proximity to the railroad.  Now, you can raise something on this land.  You can sell what you raise.  You will have something to sell.  You can make a living here, and a little more, and thus you can gradually get ahead, and meet your payments, if you have bought on time, without inconvenience.  It is not the size of an obligation which makes it hard or easy to meet;  it is the extent of one’s resources which must be considered.  If you are dead poor you can’t pay for your chewing tobacco.  If you are well fixed  you can smoke cigars, and stand off the storekeeper at that.

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We repeat, there is plenty of excellent land for sale in Rice county at low prices, long time and easy terms.  If you wish to get at it, seek further in these pages.

Such, in brief are some of the advantages of Rice county in the way of climate, soil, healthfulness, products, etc.  Such are some of the reasons why persons seeking homes should look here before going elsewhere.  Seeing is believing.  Come and be convinced.

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(J. H. Ricksicker’s Cattle Ranch, Rice County, Kansas.)

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Chapter IV.


Some Intelligible Information Carefully Compiled.

Questions and Answers about the State, Its Advantages and Peculiarities.

Just What YOU Want to Know.

Every mail brings to the compilers of these pages numbers of inquiries about Kansas.  They come from all classes of people, and concern a great diversity of information.  We answer these inquiries gladly.  Perhaps we can answer a few of them here, and thus anticipate a few of them.  We have tabulated some of those which most often come to us.

1.  What is the population of Kansas?

The enumeration as taken in 1884 was 1,135,614.  In 1875, it was less than one-half that number.

2.  Are your people generally prosperous?

Yes, we doubt if there is another state in the Union where there is less want, where legitimate industry is more amply rewarded, or where men are making more money.  We know there is none where lands are advancing more rapidly, and as they have not yet reached even an approximation of their actual value, it may be safely said they will continue to enhance for several years more.

3.  Must I then believe all that I hear about your state?

This is easy to answer.  Believe a reasonable amount of what you read about Kansas, and a little perhaps that is unreasonable, for Kansas is in and of itself a precedent.  Its growth has been unparallel in the history of states, yet it has suffered from exaggerations.  It is not the only good country in the world, but believe us it is one of the best.  Come and see, then you can decide for yourself.  It is fair to look upon, and truth never hurts it.  In thirty years it has had but three general crop failures.  Has your State a better record?  The last few years have been uniformly successful and probably justify the great praise you have heard about it.

4.  Have you railroads?

You will be astonished at the numbers when you reach Kansas City.  There are over 4,000 miles of well equipped roads in the state.  The rate of fare is 3 cents a mile.  A beneficent railroad law fixes that.  The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe brings you to our part of the state.

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5.  Is your county healthy?

The whole state is healthy.  We have plenty of sunlight and pure air, and are high enough above the level of the sea and far enough from the “shaking belt” to be wholly free from malaria.  The bracing atmosphere is also a foe to every form of pulmonary disorder.  We have more doctors than business for them.

6.  Are the winters long?

If you will look at the map you will see that our state is as far south as Virginia.  Generally the winters are short and open.  The last two or three seasons, however, have been cold and we have had some snow and plenty of frost.  But the winters usually are not long.  They come late in the year and give way early to a long and sunny summer, when everything grows, and grows, and grows.  It is said that Kansas has more sunshining days, and more days when a farmer may work in the open air, in each year, than any other state.  So far as our knowledge goes this is true.  The summer heat is not distressing, and people work steadily out-of-doors without enervation.  Sunstroke is unknown in our experience.  We have strong winds, especially at night, making sleep grateful after the day’s toil, but little damage is ever caused by those terrors of other states, namely, cyclones.

7.  Is it a good stock country?

The growing and shipping of live stock shares equally with agriculture the attention of the people.  On January 1, 1885, the cattle in the state were valued at over seventy million dollars.  The growth of this interest has been amazing.  In five years the number of cattle has doubled.  The State Board of Agriculture now reports 2,238,785 head.  Kansas has millions of acres of good pasture.  The stockmen all make money.

8.  What of markets?

We have them east and west of us, and at home.  It is not a question of finding markets, it is a problem how best to supply them.

9.  Do you have plenty of fuel and water?

The timber of Kansas is usually confined to the banks of streams and small groves which form only a small part of the area of the State.  Coal is burnt because it is cheap and convenient.  Kansas mines a vast amount of good coal in many of her counties, and it is sold everywhere at a low price.  Much Colorado coal is used, and Pennsylvania anthracite is always to be had of local dealers by those who prefer it.

Water is accessible at easy depths, varying from 10 to 40 feet.  The supply is inexhaustible.  Drive wells are common, being effective and inexpensive.  Wind-mill pumps are universally used.  The stockmen generally prefer this method, as it provides pure water at all times, cool in summer and warm in winter.  For drinking purposes, the water in Central Kansas has not one objectionable quality.

10.  Is the soil, and are the crops what they are represented to be?

The fertility of Kansas soil has passed into a proverb.  So much is

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(Cattle Ranch of W. Q. Elliott, Rice County, Kansas)

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certain.  The soil is dark, sandy loam, rich in everything that sustains a rank plant life.  It is deeper in the valleys and bottoms than on uplands, but it is so fertile at all points as never yet to have needed a fertilizer.  The drainage is excellent.  The sub-soil carries off the surplus water, enough moisture being retained to withstand dry weather if such comes.

Kansas mud is an honest mud, for it has a bottom.  Teams do not get mired.  Roads quickly dry out and with little travel become hard and clean.  This is a point of wonder to new-comers, who always commend the natural roads of the State.

As to crops, that, too, is a matter well understood.  We have endeavored to give some idea of their diversity and abundance.  Localities have specialties, but there is no locality that will not grow a variety of the small grains, fruit and vegetables.  The prophecies of the past have been fulfilled.  A prominent commercial journal of Chicago says that Kansas next year will in all probability take the place Illinois has so long occupied as the greatest agricultural commonwealth in the Union.  Strong words, no doubt, but the estimate is made from figures furnished by the Department of Agriculture at Washington.  Think, for a moment, of the possibilities of a State which last year produced 50 million bushels of wheat and 190 million bushels of corn, and other things in proportion.

11.  What kind of fences do you build?

The commonest are barbed wire, which can be put up for about $100 per mile, though this will vary with the varying price of wire.  Osage orange hedges are popular.  In four years the Osage makes a strong, mature hedge, which is both practical and beautiful.  The herd law is in force in nearly all counties, thereby making it optional whether or not a man shall enclose his farm, he being as secure from trespass in one case as the other.  Nothing has contributed more to the development of Central Kansas than this, and the law is universally respected.

12.  Are taxes heavy?

No.  The taxes on a quarter section of unimproved prairie will range from $10 to $25.  The State has only a small debt, and taxes for all purposes are reasonable.  A synopsis of the tax laws appears on another page.

13.  Have you good schools and churches?

Yes, and plenty of them.  It is claimed, we cannot say with how much truth, that Kansas stands next to Massachusetts in the matter of common schools.  The permanent school fund amounts to the grand and actual cash total of nearly three million dollars, with a residue in unsold land valued at upwards of $12,000,000.  Kansas, which is twice as large as Ohio and two and a half times the size of Indiana, had donated to it for school purposes one-eighteenth of its whole area.

14.  Is there government land left?

Not in the eastern half of the state.  In remote and undesirable

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localities, away from railroads, away from towns, away from rivers and creeks, away from civilization, away from the region of adequate rainfall, on the frontier in short, claims may be taken, but it is not this part of Kansas of which we write.  That must always remain a debatable agricultural region, save where irrigation is practicable.

15.  If everything is so prosperous in Kansas, people contented, and making money, why are so many willing to sell?

While this is clear to a Western man it will bear explanation to the Eastern reader.  The answer is that it comports with the Western idea of speculation.  A man has his price for everything here, and if he can sell at a profit he sells.  In this way he increases his capital.  He does not offer to sell because he wants to leave the state.  He will remain here.  Once a Kansan always a Kansan.

16.  Can I trade my farm in the East for one in your county?

We wish you could, if that would bring you among us.  There are many men who want to trade in that way.  Owners of Kansas farms and ranches, of Kansas land of any sort, find they can get more for their land here than for anything they can trade it for.

17.  Can you get me a situation in Kansas?

Young man, this is not a country of situations.  If you are a farmer and want to start in for yourself, or hire out, come on;  you will find what you are looking for.  If you know how to handle stock and want to go into the cattle business, come on.  If you are a good mechanic, also come on.  You need not be idle a minute.  But if you are after a clerkship, or a position in a bank where there is nothing to do, except to county other people’s money and appropriate what you want for your own sweet uses, mark it well, young man, you are not wanted in Kansas.  We know that, and we know it hard, with one hand tied behind us.  This is not the place for those out of employment, as that phrase is generally understood.  Our own cities are strewn with such wrecks already.  Kansas is an agricultural and pastoral State, and its opportunities are to the farmer and the grazer.  Brains, muscle, energy, and perseverance—these are wanted, and there is always a place for them.

18.  Can I succeed without money to start with?

Many have succeeded whose only capital in the beginning was a ready hand and a stout heart.  But we advise no one to come to Kansas unless he has money enough to make a small purchase, and provide for the first year, which is always the hardest.  It used to be that nothing was necessary to a man’s fortune in Kansas, save his presence, but the time has gone by when reward comes without toil.  It is easy enough to make money if a man will work for it.

19.  What kind of grasses have you?

Both tame and wild.  To enumerate them would be to write a tedious list.  Some of us can remember when the tame grass controversy was at its heights in Illinois.  Some of us, indeed, can remember when

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farming was pronounced a failure upon the open prairies of that state.  The same ground has been gone over in this state, and with precisely the same result.  Blue grass, clover and the other popular varieties thrive here, but there is such an abundance of prairie meadow and pasture that they are preferred.

20.  How shall I get to Kansas?

Ask your nearest ticket agent.  He will sell you a ticket to any point on the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe.  Your fare will be a small outlay in comparison with the satisfaction it will be to you to have seen the country.

21.  Does it cost more to live there than where I am now?

That depends.  The price of necessities is not much above that in eastern states, and we include general merchandise and agricultural implements.  Some articles range less.  Kansas is so centrally located, so near to market, and so good a market of itself, that it enjoys the commercial advantages of older states.

2.  If I come, will you show me your lands?

Certainly.  We prefer that a man should look over our properties and select that which pleases him best, and we have teams employed for that purpose.  We charge no commission to the customer, and give him, so far as we are able, the benefit of our experience.

23.  Shall I be sure of complete and perfect title if I buy?

It is a condition of all sales that every piece of land shall show a clear abstract.  We attend to this important matter ourselves.

24.  When is the best time to come?

It is always a good time to come to Kansas.  The men who want to get good farms at a cheap price must come soon or they will find the land taken.  Immigration never promised to be greater than it will be this Spring and Summer.  A correspondent who has just made a trip through our section of the country, writes:

“Every town I have visited is full of land prospectors, and they appear to mean business.  Most of the new comers are bright, active, intelligent men, with plenty of vigor, and capital enough to give them a good start.  They are not infrequently the sons of farmers in the eastern states, whose families have grown too big for the old farm, and whose boys are striking out for themselves.”

And if, as there is luck in odd numbers, you fall to wondering whether Kansas is a new Garden of Eden, as some have represented it to be, we will answer just as frankly that since the original experiment in that direction somewhere in Asia, a number of years since, there has been no earthly paradise.  El Dorado is the shadow of a dream, and Utopia merely a piece of Greek imagery.  Kansas is a living reality, with the faults only of a lusty manhood.  It has been prettily described as a state four hundred miles long, two hundred miles wide, eight thousand miles thick, and reaching to the stars.  It, then, is certainly large enough for you and yours.

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Chapter V.


A Little Chapter for a Cent, But Full of Chunks

And Nuggets of Interesting Truths About “Bleeding,” Suffering,” “Grasshopper-eaten,” Grand, Glorious, Free and Unconquered Kansas!


A good name;

A central location;

A small State debt;

An industrious people;

Pure air and lots of it;

An occasional blizzard;

A fine climate in—spots;

A prohibitory liquor law;

Italian skies—occasionally;

An orchard on every farm;

Two and a half million hogs;

Eleven unorganized counties;

Seven thousand school houses;

Eighty-six organized counties;

Thirty-three daily newspapers;

Blue grass and clover pastures;

Eight hundred thousand sheep;

Fifty-two million acres of land;

Eight thousand school teachers;

A true valuation of $555,000,000;

A million acres of homestead lands;

Millions of bees and tons of honey;

 Plenty of quail and prairie chickens;

A moderate municipal indebtedness;

‘Possums, paw-paws and persimmons;

First class building stone everywhere;

Forty-eight thousand colored population;

Fourteen million acres under cultivation;

Seven millions worth of school property;

A record of eleven successive corn crops;

Twelve cities with over 5,000 population;

But one-fifth of area actually under plow;

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Twenty-seven millions of taxable acres;

A million and a quarter State school funds;

Two thousand five hundred church buildings;

Four thousand manufacturing establishments;

Six hundred miles of railway under contract;

A very few buffalo in the extreme southwest;

Farm products last year valued at $738,000,000;

One million, two hundred and sixty-eight population;

One hundred and fifty towns with over 500 population;

Three hundred and thirty-five thousand school children;

Five hundred and eighty-one newspapers and periodicals;

One hundred and seventeen million dollars worth of live stock.


Under the above head the St. Louis Republican says:  “Kansas is probably the most prosperous state in the union.  It has had a succession of good crops.  It has sprung up in the scale of agricultural states to a position very near the top.”

Thanks.  But what state is any nearer the top?  Let us take the National Bureau of Agriculture for 1883.

Is it Missouri?  Kansas raised 11,145,000 bushels more corn than Missouri.

Is it Illinois?  Kansas raised 85,607,686 bushels more of corn, 4,701,100 bushels more of wheat, and 18,725,334 bushels more of oats than Illinois.

Is it Iowa?  Kansas raised 4,176,000 bushels more corn than Iowa.

Is it Nebraska?  Nebraska produced 101,278,900 bushels of corn—a big crop, but Kansas raised 172,800,000 bushels, 72,921,100 bushels in favor of Kansas.

Perhaps it is Minnesota?  Kansas raised just 157,875,100 bushels of corn more than Minnesota.  Next.

Is it Dakota?  She is not a wheat producing state, but when the wheat dance is called she waltzes in with 16,128,100 bushels.  But when Kansas raises 55,815,100 Dakota gets tired.


It should be the first ambition of every man to own a home of his own.  The man who rents a house for his family, other things being equal, is a better citizen than the man who has no family, and by the same reasoning which makes this true, the man who has a family, and owns his own home is a better citizen than the man who rents.

The man who owns his home is rooted to the soil like a tree, and becomes a fixture in the community in which he lives.  He owns a part of the town that he lives in, and to the extent of ownership is interested in its prosperity and growth.  When the town grows his property increases in value, and thus he grows with his neighbors, and it is this

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Interest in common with the other home owners that makes him a desirable citizen.

After he gets his home the adverse winds that blow over the town shakes his tree with the rest, and the warm rain and bright sunshine that make the other trees grow, sends his tree heavenward likewise.  He readily sees that it is to his interest to patronize the institutions of his own community, as it is in that way that cities are built.  When he builds a house he lets the contract to home builders, as they will in turn patronize him.  When he furnishes his house he applies to the home dealer for the same reason, and so the good work goes on.

Young man, get a home of your own if it has but one room.  Become a tax payer with the others, and thereby secure the right to be regarded as part of the community in which you live.


An average based on the rainfall of ten years shows that there is more rain in Kansas during the months of May, June, July and August, than in Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Missouri, or Nebraska—states not usually considered droughty ones.  Successful farming in Kansas is almost entirely the result of an intelligent understanding of the climate and a compliance with its requirements.  Deep plowing, repeated harrowing, and frequent rolling have brought success to every farmer who has practiced them.  There is no state where the results and rewards of working the soil are surer than in Kansas, if an intelligent system of farming and rotation of crops are adapted to both soil and climate.  In the western counties, where stock raising is the chief industry, there is less rainfall than in other parts of the state.


Some items published in our news columns, says that Atchison Champion, illustrates the rapid advance in the value of Kansas lands during the past year or so.  We think it reasonably certain, it says, that every acre of Kansas farming land has nearly doubled in price during the past two years, and is still going up.  Good land is becoming scarce in the Kansas market.  Its value is beginning to be appreciated, as it has not been until a few years past.  Immigration is flowing in rapidly.  Kansas is to-day the most prosperous state in the Union.  It has experienced only two general crop failures since it was opened to settlement in 1854.  it has a healthful climate, a soil of unequaled fertility, an intelligent, enterprising population, and the best of transportation facilities.  It is bound to grow rapidly.  Its lands have, therefore, a real, permanent, and steadily increasing value, and the day will soon come when every farm in the eastern half of the state will readily command from forty to seventy-five dollars per acre.


The announcement that a large colony of Mennonites, who settled in Dakota over nine years ago, have moved to Kansas, is very significant.  During their residence in the north they have had ample opportunity to become acquainted with the country.  They have seen it Summer and Winter, at its best and at its worst.  The proposal to change their residence is obviously not a mere whim.  Other Mennonites live in the Arkansas Valley in Kansas, and the two colonies, on comparing notes, find that the success of those in the southern latitude, where the climate is mild, and diversified agriculture is possible, has been vastly greater than that of their kindred farther north.  The extreme northwest is a great country for spring wheat.  But, taking everything into account, the southwest is a much better place for immigrants.—Editorial in St. Louis Globe-Democrat.


Men deal in stocks, they buy and sell on margins, they speculate in mines, but in all of these where one man makes money fifty leave the business poorer than they began.  In all the history of Wall Street, there is hardly an instance where a man who has devoted his life to business on ‘change has retired with a competency.  And the thousands who have speculated in mines, and have from time to time been called upon to pay assessments, until they have at last lost all, will further bear our the assertion.

Careful investments in Kansas lands have none of the elements of risk above named.  The investor knows that he has something tangible;  something that cannot be cornered;  something that he will not have to brace up with margins, and something that in nine cases out of ten will pay a handsome profit.


The future wealth of Kansas is in her grass, which is rich, varied, abundant, unconquerable by disaster.  The army of money-makers in the state look to the great live-stock interest for their surest return.  It is not too much to say that more grass grows upon one acre of the Southwest Kansas prairies than upon five acres of the famous California and Australia “sheep walks.”  Colorado, Texas, and New Mexico have no such pastures.


Our cities are growing;  the railroads change their time tables every week to accommodate new cities that were not on the last one issued.  There isn’t a man idle who wants work.  Farmers pump water for the cattle with wind-mills and do their plowing sitting upon a spring seat, with a box of cigars on one side.  In the east they carry their water from the nearest creek, and walk behind a plow until they have no dis-

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tinct idea whether they are shoving the machine or the horses pulling it.  The man who can’t thrive, prosper, and grow rich in Kansas would starve in a baker.  If you want to see how this will assay to the line, come to Kansas.


The question is often asked, What does it cost to live in Kansas?  In answer, we clip the following from a Kansas paper:  “Fifteen lbs. granulated sugar for $1;  25 boxes matches for 25 cents;  light brown sugar, 16, 16 ½, and 17 lbs. for $1;  Arbuckle and Levering coffees, 16 cents per lbs.;  best cut loaf sugar, 12 lbs for $1;  roller-mill four, 85 cents per sack, and every sack warranted.”


The growth of Kansas in population and wealth during the last few years has surpassed the expectation of the most sanguine.  In less than a dozen years over 90,000 square miles of her lands have been transformed from their wild natures to a high state of cultivation, and villages and hamlets, as by magic, have grown into cities, and still the work goes on.  Kansas has just cause to boast of her schools, churches, government and people.


Rate per cent of return on money invested in farms, from field crops, compiled from statistics of the National Bureau:





New York














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Chapter VI.

A Word with Thee!  Only a Word, for a Word to the Wise is Sufficient.

We are now come to the last and least chapter of our little book; but one which is probably the most important of them all, since it will enable the reader to localize and utilize any information he may have gained herein.  This book is published by the Sterling Land & Investment Co., and is handed to you free of charge, in hopes of a possible mutual benefit.

The Sterling Land & Investment Co., is a stock company, whose $100,000 of stock is all taken.  The stock is principally owned by Sterling men, though some is held by outside parties, notably by prominent officials of the Santa Fe Railway.

The purposes of the company are to develop Sterling and Rice county.  This work is issued in furtherance of those purposes.

The company have for sale any quantity of the finest and cheapest lands in Central Kansas;  also the best business and residence lots, and the best speculative properties in the stirring  young city of Sterling.  The Cooper Memorial College addition to Sterling was laid out by them this Fall, 1886.  Large numbers of lots have been sold in this addition already.  There remain any number of bargains there and elsewhere.

What the reader should remember is that the members of this company are all responsible and respected citizens.  They know all about the country and the town they represent,  and their statements can be depended upon with perfect confidence.

The Sterling Land & Investment Co. thank you personally for your kind attention.  If you should like to know anything more about Sterling or Rice county, do not hesitate to write to the officers named below.  It is their business to supply your wants and answer your questions.  They are glad to do so.

The Sterling Land & Investment Co. will be very glad to send you or any friends of yours copies of this little book, at any address you may designate, free of charge.


J. H. Ricksecker,


Or, W. H. Page,


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(Goose-shooting Over Decoys, Arkansas River, Near Sterling.)