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Two miles below the mill, the old abandoned road led off to the right across the ridge. Sandy dismounted and explored a short distance. He could hear the jangle of the bells of Tommy's mules a half mile below, and without further investigation, he swung the eight mules and two wagons down the Devil's Slide. Last year the new road was finished, and no wagon had now been down the old grade since the season's rains had torn its ruts to chasms and carved landslides out of its banks. When in good repair, its ascent was a case of doubling on one wagon, and no year had passed without its record of fatality. It saved five miles distance, but there was no complaint of the longer road. With steady nerves, Sandy headed his team down this causeway of destruction, and whatever may serve as substitute for nerves in a mule, was steady in Jerry. After a quarter of a mile of passable road, the descent began, and with set brakes and sliding wheels the flat was reached in safety, for the rain had done little damage on the crest.
Sandy breathed easier, and was thinking of regular trips by the old road to get home quicker to Nina if-but he thought of something else, for the road ahead out of the flat had been the play path of the torrent, and for a thousand feet was cut into gullies and crevasses from one to three feet deep. It looked bad, but Nina was at the other end, and there was no retreat now.
With four mules detached and chained wheels, Jerry and his three plucky brothers dragged the load down that corrugated skidway of ruin. With a super-mulish intelligence Jerry dodged holes, climbed banks, and picked his way along precipices. Twice the trail wheels went over, but the gear was strong, and with new danger at every rod of the way, the notch was reached, and Sandy drew a long breath. Then Jerry stopped short, and Sandy's heart came into his mouth. the next fill, the earth was washed out clear across the road. There was the perpendicular hill on one side and the yawning chasm on the other, and across the chasm a four foot log bridging the ten feet of space.
Sandy got down and examined the log while Jerry watched intently. A little
work with the shovel, a testing of the strength of the narrow footing next to the bank, and he climbed back on the seat, and Jerry began to pick his way out onto the log. Inch by inch the wheels followed, starting and stopping till the first wagon was over. The last wheel on the second wagon slipped, struck a rock, and came down on the bank, but three minutes later eight plucky mules lifted it onto the road and the gulf was passed.
The last thousand yards was steep and rough, but it was no worse than the road above, and with shoveling and side-pulling and sliding, mules and wagons were on the new grade, with no the new grade, with no damages other than scratched paint and strained nerves. No road had ever looked so good before as this nice, smooth, dusty grade, and as he caught the faint echoes of Tommy's bells a mile above, Sandy felt like shouting, if ever a Scot feels that way. He had brought his load down the Devil's Slide in an hour and a quarter, and he would be first in to-night.
Now it happened that Tommy was so elated with his early start and so busy composing a fine speech that he did not notice the tracks leading in from the old road, and proceeded on his way in blissful ignorance of his loss of place by one of the most difficult feats of teamstership known on the mountains.
But other eyes did see the tracks. An hour later, Billy Dean, the mail carrier, passed Sandy, and inquired whether he were the blasted fool that came down the slide this morning, and went on with the comforting assurance that "Next time you'll go over, and then everybody'll say, 'I knew he'd break his fool neck some day.""
At Kellog's, Sandy only stopped to water and get from the cook a substantial handout which he hungrily devoured in the dust that half the time hid the leaders. Tommy's mules were famous walkers, and the sooner it were over now the better. At this speed he would turn into the yard at the record breaking hour of 4:30 p. m. Then he would throw down his jerk line, wash up, and go to the house to hear what she would say to him. "One thing," he muttered to himself, "I ain't much to look at, and I'm no ladies' man, but if she takes me, she'll get a square deal."
"At the Widow Weeks, of course. Have you not heard the news? The happy event came off last night."
"Happy event!" echoed Sandy. "Who?" But he knew too well the name he dreaded to hear.
"The Comet," chuckled Pelton, in glee. "Wouldn't that grieve you? He ain't been a-hangin' at that there likely widow's all this time for nothin'; long head, you bet ?"
Sandy sat motionless on his seat. All the suspended fatigue of yesterday, the toil of the night and the tension of the Devil's Slide fell on him at once. The sun went out, and in the soul of the man was a thick darkness that could be cut, and through it there did cut something into the heart of the man. To have been beaten by Tommy would have been bad enough, but this dude that wore clean shirts and talked about the stars and could not drive a jerk-line-it was too much for flesh and blood. He had never taken the Comet seriously-Nina was too sensible a girl!
At the roadhouse he went in and brought out a black bottle with a green label, and put it in his wagon box.
Billy Deen's incredible story had spread about the flat, and it was about five o'clock that Ben came up to the house with his mouth full of news, which he heralded with the relish of those who bear ill-tidings.
"Sandy's in," he asserted, "and he's drinkin' agin. I saw the bottle in his jockey box."
Straight to the corral went Nina, flushed of face and determined of step. Sandy saw her and turned his head.
"What's this I hear?" she exclaimed, suddenly coming upon him, pulling the harness from one of the mules.
"Nothin' bad, I hope," said Sandy, doggedly.
"Ben says there's a bottle in your box,
and there is, too; I can see it myself." "Well, the cork's never been out of it yet, but what's the use? I got nothing to live for now."
"Sandy McClellan, whatever is the matter with you?"
"Nothing," he stubbornly answered. "Nothing!" she challenged. "Give me that bottle, and don't you get another one, either. You need a guardian, you do."
Sandy braced himself. "Well, Nina, I did hope to have a guardian-a guardian angel, but now-excuse me, I forgot to congratulate you. I sure wish you
"Congratulate me!" she exclaimed. "What for? Are you crazy?"
"For getting the man you wanted, I suppose. I hope you
"Sandy, if you don't talk sense pretty soon, I will send over for the marshall." "Well," said Sandy, utterly perplexed, "Pelton said it was the Comet, and that the happy event came off last night."
Nina's contracted brow relaxed, and then she laughed, a merry, hearty laugh that rang out over the yard and up to the house.
"Sandy McClellan, you old goose, you; the Comet married Ma! Did you think I could support him?" "Then you're not married?" ventured Sandy in cautious bewilderment.
"Not even engaged," she said, demurely, as she drew up a pile of sand with the toe of her shoe.
That night they sat on the old stone step together, close together. Her hand was in his, and she was saying: "Just to think that you worked all night and came down the Devil's Slide this morning to get here first after helping out old Badluck! luck! I never supposed that any man would
"But suppose I had not got in first!" interposed Sandy.
"Oh! then I had the certificate to teach. I passed, you know. And when Billy Deen came down the hill this morning and told what you did, I knew that you were the right one. I guess you need teaching as much as anybody I know."
"Here comes Ma's chivaree," said Sandy. "Let's git!"
THE HOME OF THE RED MAN IN
BY GRANT FOREMAN
Mr. Grant Foreman tells us, in a most instructive and convincing manner, the story of the American Indian in Statehood. While the editor is not prepared to affirm that Mr. Foreman is correct in all of his conclusion, it is certain that the meagre knowledge of the question so ably discussed by Mr. Foreman is to be deplored. The white man's actions, toward a race that is probably one of the noblest the sun has ever shone upon, have been such that the impartial reader of history shudders in contemplating the record thereof. Mr. Foreman has contributed to the history of our times, in the article in this issue of the Overland Monthly, and the whole country is indebted to him for his painstaking efforts.
Y ITS INFREQUENCY in recent years, the admission of States into the union has become something of an event to be approached with unusual circumspection. Oklahoma, the first State to be admitted in a period extending over eleven years, comes into the Union fully grown, with all the vigor and strength of maturity. Born into affluence, conscious of her own strength, she asks no odds of any State. She numbers almost half as many people as there were in the thirteen original colonies at the close of the Revolution. Four times as many people as there were in the next largest State at the time of its admission. When the census of 1900 was taken, twenty States of the Union had each less than the present population of Oklahoma. Any one of sixteen of them had less than one-half of the number of Oklahoma's population.
As fair a land as the sun ever shone upon, Oklahoma has welcomed to her broad acres hundreds of thousands of citizens from the older States. They have come from every section of the country to better their conditions, and, unmindful of the lack of laws, contented with the fertile soil and salubrious climate, have settled down and built homes and cities.
EDITOR OVERLAND MONTHLY.
Unique in many other respects, the genesis of Oklahoma is as different from that of other States as is that of Texas or Florida. Nearly every other State of the Union represents a bloody conquest of the Indian occupants of the land and the cruel driving of them out to seek new homes while their visitors turned their minds to conquering the wilderness, wresting a bare existence from a not always too generous soil, passing through the privations and hardships of pioneer life, enduring the rigors of winter with illy provided protection, rallying from droughts and loss of crops, and finally emerging into a degree of comfort.
And when these pioneers became so numerous that they could organize a school district here and there and an occasional village throughout the land became an established fact, they saw a hand beckoning to them from Washington inviting them to come into the Union and be a State. It did not matter that they were small in number, they were young and would grow. Uncle Sam loved a big family, and he thought it was only right to reward the hardy men and brave women who had gone forth and toiled and suffered to conquer wild nature, by giving them the right to make their own laws and
to rise to the dignity of citizens of this great country with all the rights and privileges thereunto appertaining.
For many years the Legislature of our Government has invited the settler to "go West and grow up with the country." Liberal homestead and pre-emption laws have encouraged pioneers to occupy and improve great tracts of public domain. Grants to railroad companies have induced the building of highways to carry settlers from the States. And the privilege of Statehood has been freely extended these pioneers upon a fair showing of population and of the natural resources which
ultimately would make a respectable
We have for so many years seen Uncle Sam coddling territories into States and nourishing tender young States until they acquired the strength that comes with years, that the spectacle furnished by Oklahoma of a sturdy, full-grown young State not only coming into the Union unbidden, but fairly forcing her way in by sheer strength, comes in the nature of a strange departure. Twenty-eight States of the Union were admitted in the ninety years ending 1890, averaging three States in every ten years. Thirty-two States admitted to the Union numbered at the time of admission from 6,857 in Nevada, to 376,683 population in West Virginia. The great State of Illinois came into the Union with only 34,620 souls, only a little more than the population of one averagesize Oklahoma county. As recently as 1890, the State of Wyoming was admitted with only 60,705 persons. North and South Dakota together had only 100,000 population.
In 1906 Oklahoma was pounding at the doors of the Union clamoring for the admission of a State of a million and a half people. Congress had turned a deaf ear to her claims theretofore, but her remarkable growth of recent years gave such force to her persistent claims for recognition that Congress was at last obliged to take notice. Reluctantly the law-makers said that if Oklahoma and Indian Territory would unite as one State and apply for admission as the State of Oklahoma, she might be admitted, subject, however, to certain conditions named in the enabling act. This apparent discrimination against
Oklahoma, the fact that this great unorganized civilization should have grown up here, surpassing many of the States in wealth, population, thriving cities, railroad mileage, energy and development, before Congress grudgingly gave it statehood to better conserve its wealth and strength, suggests something out of the ordinary in its organic nature.
Unlike most other States of the Union, the pioneers of Oklahoma, the early settlers who claimed the country from the aimless prodigality of nature, were not white people, but Indians, and anomalous as it may seem, these pioneers and settlers reduced this wilderness to civilization without bloodshed, and their appropriation of the land did not dispossess others of prior rights.
The five civilized tribes, the Cherokees, Creeks, Chickasawa, Choctaws and Seminoles, less than eighty years ago lived upon their own lands within the boundaries of Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, Tennessee and Florida. Even in those days they were regarded as civilized Indians. They had schools and churches, they trafficked in the crops, fruits and vegetables they raised. They built roads and kept inns. They had mills and workshops, and they manufactured cotton and wool. A young Cherokee named Sequoyah had invented an alphabet which has been used since 1826 in publishing Cherokee newspapers and books.
The fact that these Indians had made such progress in civilization, promising to become fixtures in the States, worried not a little the white citizens of those States who are hoping and striving to ultimately possess the fine lands owned by these Indians.
It would be a long story that would tell how these States passed laws to circumscribe the Indians, the enactment and execution of which contravenes the treaties made between them and the Government of the United States. How the President refused to enforce the laws of Congress to protect the Indians from the oppression of their covetous neighbors; how he and Congress finally decided to banish the trouble from their minds and at the same time conciliate the States named by sending these five civilized tribes to a remote end of our possessions recently acquired
from France and known as the Louisiana Purchase.
Treaties looking to this removal were made by the Government with these Indians from 1826 to 1835. The making of these treaties on the part of the Indians was tragic. They were opposed by many of the Indians and occasioned intestine strife. The preamble of the treaty of 1830 with the Choctaws, known as the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek, contains the admission that the President of the United States could not protect these Indians from the laws of the State of Mississippi.
By these treaties each tribe gave up the lands held by it in the east, and accepted in lieu thereof a large tract of land extending from Arkansas Territory west to New Spain, now Texas. Since the Louisiana Purchase was consummated, the Government has cleared up the title as it were to this land, by taking a quit claim deed from the Osage Indians, who exercised dominion over the south-end of that great domain.
At this time so little was known of this proposed new home of the Indians that the real boundary between the United States and Mexico along Red River was in doubt, and the question which was afterward litigated between the United States and Texas was not determined until a decision was handed down by the United States Supreme Court in 1895. This suit which grew out of a lack of information on the part of the United States Government at the time the treaty of 1819 with Spain was made, as to the fact that there are two large forks of Red River, involved a tract of 1,500,000 acres of land lying between these forks, which is now Greer and Jackson Counties, Oklahoma.
For fifteen years after the Louisiana Purchase was accomplished, Spain was claiming that part of it now included in the new State of Oklahoma and insisted that the boundary line between the United States and New Spain should run north and south through Arkansas and Missouri. Spain holding all west of this line and south of the Missouri river. Overtures to that effect were made to our Government by the Spanish Minister in 1818 and 1819, but John Quincy Adams, then
Secretary of State, was firm in his demand for the boundary line subsequently adopted in the treaty of 1819. The Spanish Minister reluctantly giving ground, said in one of his letters to Mr. Adams in 1819 that he did not think the United States should be so particular, as the land between the Arkansas and Red Rivers, which embraces most of the new State of Oklahoma, was covered with alkali and was of no account. The estimate of this fertile country put upon it by the Spaniards seems to have been accepted by the United States for the old geographies called Indian Territory part of the Great American Desert.
It was here, then, that Congress arranged to send these Indians to occupy a waste place about which it knew only enough to assume that white men would never want it. To this new and strange home came these five civilized tribes, and the Government built a number of forts to garrison troops with which to afford protection to them from the savage tribes ranging adjoining territory, so that the new comers could in peace pursue the pastoral lives they had lead in the East. The Indians settled on the eastern part of their new domain, as the soil is more productive and the rainfall more copious than upon the western end. They brought with them their household effects, their horses and cattle, their slaves and civilized institutions. They settled upon a garden spot of nature. It was all they had been led to believe in, and more. is doubtful whether in all our dealings with the Indians a promise has been more faithfully kept by our Government than in its representations made to them concerning the character of the country to which they were to be removed.