Lexington Leader. (Lexington, Okla.), Vol. 18, No. 29, Ed. 1 Friday, April 9, 1909 Page: 3 of 8
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r By EdwabdD. Clark
Illustration Br Dearborn Melvill
a o 9 o
Q O O *
f e w.
pers In the
great cities there appeared from lime lo
time paragraphs, the points of which
wore sharpened at the expense of tho
country life commission appointed by
President Roosevelt. Few and insignifi-
cant as these paragraphs were they
aroused something like resentment in the
heart of the man who was doing what lie
could to Improve the conditions of life,
where they were susceptible of improve-
ment, In tho small villages and In the
farming districts of the country. Presi-
dent Roosevelt during tho whole time of
his administration tried to make it plain
to people that he thought that in many
respects tho country life was much the
Tho president has gone out of office,
but between the time that lie sent the re-
port of the country life commission to
congress, accompanied by his special
message, to the time that, he said good-
by to the White House, he was in daily
receipt of letters from people living in
farming communities ail over the coun-
try, and ninety-nine one-hundredths of
these letters were in a tone commenda-
tory of the object lie had in view in ap-
pointing a commission to consider the
conditions of farming life in tho open
The president was Uo( alone in the
c«-\' of 1 Tfcev have "ii >
O- "t I' HMHl'ir 1 .,,11, ,
' members of the country life commiss
by the commission as a body, t ne
nVymber of replies received to the ques-
t 1oiV-° sent out by the commission Is al-
most Vast the c()mputlng. These replies
and the * lette/'.s received since the com-
mission's report wtas turned in, have
been carefully read aiVd carefully studied.
There is in them a won'.d of human inter
est. The letters have .come from all
Kinds, classes, and condi.'lons of men
and women who live outside' the great
congested centers of population:
Some of these communications, though
a very small number in comparison to
Hie great number representing the total.
Vave resented, in a way, the intimation
that everything might not be ail right with the farm life. One
or two letters practically told the president and the members
of the commission to mind their own business. A small file of
the letters now in the possession of the committee has in it
the messages which came from "cranks." By "cranks" here,
is meant men and women whose minds are unhinged, it is
perhaps necessary to make a distinction because there are
people in the world whom others carelessly are given to call
lii^ianks whose opinion has weight and whose work is for the
lir Jest of humanity. President Roosevelt was called a crank
U^fiany times because of his desire to appoint a commission to
/ iok into farm life conditions.
Tho members of the country life commission agreed at the
rl- o outset that they would not make knowrn the names of their
/ correspondents, it was thought that if the people believed
I, , their names in any instance would he made public, they would
, i not. write freely from the heart. It is for this reason that in
I the extracts from some of the correspondents and from some
of the answers which were received, the names of the writers
have been omitted, though the localities in which they live
and their calling in life have been given. One of the most
pleasing things to President Roosevelt and to the members of
the commission was the serious tone of the discussions in the
country press of his plan for a commission of inquiry. In ad-
dition to the letters which have been received from individuals
there is a great bundle of clippings from the press of the coun-
I try bearing upon the commission's subject and the work which
/ the members, under Mr. Taft's predecessor, took in hand.
It toay he said that some of the replies which were turned in
to the commission came from men and women who practically
were illiterate. It is also true that one set of replies which
came from a man in a southern state, a man who was barely
able to write and almost wholly unable to spell, contained as
many sane suggestions for the improvement of certain locali-
1 ties as did any set of replies which was received, and some
of them came from men who not only are farmers, but are
fcholars in the highest sense of the word.
Concerning the general nature of the letters to th president
which had been received up to a time several months prior
to the sending of the commission's report to congress, there
eaine from the office of the commission a statement concern-
ing the general tenor of the epistles. Tho commission sum
marized its opinion of the letters which had come in up to that
time as follows:
!"The general tenor of the farmers' letters shows that not
only are they deeply concerned in the work of the commis-
sion but that they have clear-headed ideas of the president's
purpose in stating the inquiry and of what the outcome may
tie. The writers get down to business and set forth their
(Ideas with a hard-headed logic and clearness of statement that
makes it seem a little doubtful If the belief of some persons
' that rural schools ought to be Improved is well founded.
"The farmers themselves, however, agree that the education-
in a) facilities in the country districts ought to be made over so
as to fit country conditions and needs more closely. A num-
ber of writers urge the need of introducing some sort of ele-
mentary agriculture into the school".. Not all are of this
opillon. however. Some maintain that there is a danger of
trying to make agricultural instruction too academic.
"the one point In which all the farmers, without exception,
with the president is that the greatest troublo with
agricultural life is
its isolation. The
remedy for this
that is most fre-
is better roads.
that is advocated
by a large propor-
tion of the writers
is that a means be sought to prevent the holding of large farms
by persons or corporations who do not work them themselves.'*
Now for some of the answers to tho questions and some.of
the suggestions made in the letters received sincn the commis-
sion has made its report.
Here is a part of a letter sent directly to Theodora Roosevelt
"There are several reasons why the farmer doesn't get the
enjoyment out of this lift; as it is enjoyed 1>\* oili-'r classes. It.
is an old saying that an individual is the last to Bee his own
faults, consequently the testimony of farmers who seldom if ever
get out of their own counties, can have little weight compared
to that given by those who have 'lived on both sides of the
question.' Personally, 1 spent .13 years in cities and towns
and the past ten years upon this farm and I think my observa-
tion can shed a little light in answer to your question.
"First, it Is well known that the higher the education, the
higher the plane of living, so my first suggestion is to improve
the rural schools. I find that here In the western states (agri-
cultural) the same system is in use that whs formed to fit
in pioneer days. As this matter is almost wholly in the hands
of the farmers themselves, and as they have never shown by
their actions that it needs changing as well as everything else
that they use, they are in a measure excusable for they know
no other method, as is shown If they won't keep their schools
iip to modern methods. Laws should be passed compelling the
farmer to adopt the advice of educators who have made the
teaching of the young their life work."
Here is a letter from another man who lives in Kansas, not far
from the town of Garnett; apparently he is of a social nature and
feels the need of the "passing compliment." He says in his letter
te the commission that he has had ten years of farm experience
though before that he lived In a town of good ize. Then he
adds: "1 want to say that what I miss more than anything else
is lack of compliments or someone to 'jollv you up.' When in
business, the traveling salesmen were always full of compli-
ments and your friends and business neighbors had pleasant
things to say about jour way of conducting business and keeping
store, but farmers are not lavish with praise of anybody or any-
thing, and you take the average farmer, and his appearance
and the looks of his place all seem to say I started out with
bright hopes and prospects, but crop failures and low prices
havo left me a sour and discouraged citizen, but 1 must stick
to the farm for I have no training for any other business. No
one jollies him, but all try to make him feel better by recounting
their own troubles."
The statement of this man with ten years' experience, as most
farmers know, can hardly be held to apply to the great
class of agriculturists, but there Is
perhaps in Ii an attempt to teach a
lesson of cheerfulness even under ad-
verse circumstances that is of just as
much service on the farm as it Is in
the city. It was said by a Washing-
ton official recently who heard of this
letter, that there are more discour-
uged ones in the cities, three times
over, than there are on farms.
From central Illinois came a. letter
which touched on iiie subject of tho
ownership of farms. In part it ii
"I wish to add this to my answer
to the question: What In your judg-
ment is the most important single
thing to be done for tho general bet-
terment of country life?' To Institute
a propaganda whose purpose shall he
to preserve American farms for Amer-
ican farmers, 1. e., that the farmer
who tills the farm should own it. I
have lived in and near this place for
-10 years and as f contrast the condi-
tion of the farmers whom I meet and
among whom I mingle, with that of
the farmers whom I knew when a
I find there lias been marked and sub-
stantial improvement in almost all things per-
taining to farm life, except two. I find that
while the farmer has better live stock, hotter
tools, better vehicles, better buildings, better
^ conveniences in and around the home, better
clothes and better schools for his children,
yet more than 50 per cent, of the farmers do
not own the farms upon which they live, and that the
land of the average farm does not produce more
than one-half as much as it once did. I believe
that these two things are in a large measure interde-
pendent upon each other as cause and effect, the
loss of fertility often being the cause of the farm
mortgage which finally takes the farm from its original owner
and transfers It to a 1: :idlord who In many cases vie* with tils
tenant in taking much from the farm and putting little back
upon it. ir the number of rented farms in the future in-
creases in the same ratio as in the past, within 25 years 75
of every 100 farm; will have passed out of the ownership of
the farmers, in the majority of cases never to return to them, f
consider this change ironi farm ownership to farm tenantry the
greatest danger, not only to the ffirm and the farmer but tho
greatest danger to the n;'tion as well."
Another Illinois man. r.ot a farmer, hut a teacher of agricul-
ture, says: "I have mailt something of a study of the iiiatim r
of living on the farm. I i\ave taken pictures of the best and
po" "-t h. use- hi the com:• v. 1 think th". 4 , of the proh-
len will depend mora upon help iven t'"e, r i wife ai
eli. i.. tlim. fiio i«n... r. "Funnem - . ti},' utiu* oi • ,
an.; having early Incomes of thousands liv meie hut-, r
bath, no hot or cold water in tho house and no m « .
heat the house This farmer alw. has big, well painted barua
and pure bred stock.
"This lack of conveniences means that Hie wife must carry
her water from the well and must carry out her slop water.
If she takes a bath it must be in some small vessel. Usually
her husband uould let ;r>00 worth of machinery rust in the
field and accuse her of extravagance if she asked to have water
piped into the house. Houses need not be large but should
be better arranged and have conveniences. Ornamental shrubs
around the house would not require care and would add to the
beauty of the place, llarns could lie located behind the house
just as easily as they are now located In front.
Educate the farmer boys to lake advantage of modern Im-
provements. Teach them agriculture in their high schools,
normal schools, and in all secondary schools. 1 have visited the
homes of many boys who have graduated from tho statu agri-
cultural college. 1 find that they have gas engines to pump
water and do the heavy work. They have Improved the looks of
their home by landscape gardening. Have water in the house
and drains to carry it away. All this means comfort to all the
Another draws a picture in part of farm life in the section
of the Alabama country where he lives.
"The farmer in this territory has to be up and going by four
o'clock a. m., and his employes a little earlier. Drudgery or
chore work comes firs!, and then the field or other regular farm
work until 11:45, then MO and in some cases 45 minutes for din-
ner and then back again until dark, more chore work, then sup-
per about seven p. m., then rest, provided there is no urgent
work such as saving of hav from threatening rain, attending to
injured or harness galled stock, repairing broken fences and
numerous other incidentals of the work.
"This is repeated day ill and day out throughout the crop
season, which with all its different branches, extends from about
the first of March to the latter part of October, and Sundays
are taken up with walking over the farms and doing small re-
pair jobs to fences, removing obstructions from drainage ditches,
gathering in stray stock, repairing harness, et cetera, and plan-
ning the work for the following week.
"In my opinion the greatest thing that, any government has
done for the relief ot the farmer that benefits all classes of farm
workers is the establishment of the rural mail service. A very
industrious man can now keep fairly up with the news of the
outside world whereas the neighborhood gossip gathered greedily
from some less busy neighbor is all we ever heard before."
It is of course perfectly impossible to give any adequate idea
of the hundreds of thousands of answers that were made to the
questions put by the commission. The farmers dltTer greatly
in their views of things but from the report of the commission
can best be gained, with the added aid of President Roosevelt's
message, an idea of the opinion which the able men who studied
the answers formed as a result ot the shifting of the
In this connection it may be out of place to give an extract
from the views expressed by the faculty of the l'urdue (lnd.)
School of Agriculture and of the staff of the experiment station.
As to the chief need of the farmers of Indiana and the
means of meeting it, the official writing for the faculty has
much to say. Among other things he says: ' We beliove the
fundamental need of the farmers of Indiana is a thoroughly
general, scientific and technical education which will enable the
rank and file of the farmers through both individual and co-
operative effort, lo secure financial returns from their farms
while fully maintaining the fertility of the soil."
The writer of the faculty goes on to say that an effort shou'd
be made to "exalt their ideas of agricultural and rural life and
inspire them to attain these ideals both in business and in liv-
ing, and thus make them in the highest degree seir helpful."
In creating the commission on country life President Roose-
velt said in a letter to Prof. Bailey, the commission's head: "No
nation has ever achieved permanent greatness unless this great
ness was based on the well-being of the great farmer-class, thu
men who live on the soil; for it is upon their welfare, material
and moral, that the welfare of the rest of the nation ultimately
For Cramp* In th« Stomach of Six Year*'
"I was troubled with cramps In the
ktomach for six years. I tried many
kinds of medicine, also was treated
by three doctors.
•'They said that I had nervous dys-
pepsia. I took the medicine for two
years, then I got sick again and (jave
up all hopes of getting cured,
"I saw a testimonial of a man whose
case was similar to viine, being cured
by Peruna, so thought I would give it
a trial. I procured a bottle at once,
and commenced taking it.
"I have taken nineteen bottles, and
am entirely cured. I believe Peruna
is all that is claimed for it."—Mrs. J.
C. Jamison, C I Marchant St., Watson-
SNAP FOR JIMMIE.
"Oh. Jimmie, our pa's been appoint-
"pood! Now I won't have ter put
any stamps on de letters I sends
MUST BELIEVE IT.
Every Reader Will Concede the Truth
of This Statement.
One who suffers with backache or
any form of kidney troublo wants a
lasting cure, not
merely a tempora ry
benefit. Profit by
the example of
Rev. J. M. Suffield,
of 2179 S. 8th St.,
Lincoln, Nebr., who
confirms a report
of his cure after
several years. "I
told In a state-
ment made for pub-
lication in 1900 how
Doan's Kidney Pills
had relieved me
after other reme-
dies had failed,"
said Rev. Suffield. "I have no hesita-
tion in confirming that statement now.
1 have used Doan's Kidney Pills at
various timeB and they have never
I Sold by all dealers. 50 cents a box.
I Foster-Mllburn Co., Buffalo, N. Y.
An Eye for Business.
White —Why are you so arxfous to
i that frinni' a !<• lar v. ever ;. •
«, . M - He on j spends ti "loney In
j s rid cl , irF
.nek- Oh, he alwa> o\j- it t c' !
> white—Hut there must be some
other reason for your ready generosity.
Black—Well, there is. He always
upends half of the money ail me.—
That for more than fifteen years
Hunt's Cure has been working on tho
afllicted. Its mission is to cure skin
I roubles, particularly those of an Itch-
ing character. Its success is not on
account of advertising, but because it
surely does the work. One box is
guaranteed to cure any case.
"And It's awfully impolite to inter-
rupt one who is talking, isn't it,
"Except when a woman is deserih
Ing clothes, my dear, and then it is
polite to constantly ejaculate 'How
lovely!' or 'IIow ridiculous!' as tin*
case may be."—Kansas City Times.
Important to N!other9.
Examine carefully every bottle of
CASTOR1A a safe and sure remedy for
lDfants and children, and see that it
In Use For Over SO Years.
The Kind You Have Always Bought.
Give Him Time.
"Do you cultivate the muses?"
"No—I'm a stranger in town, and
only know a few people, so far."
Dyspepsia and constipation are avoidable
miseries—take Garfield Tea, Nature's Herb
Samson was the first actor on record
to bring down the house.
May W ^cr\wawe\w\j cwccoxwo
toy e^a\s wv\V\Ve av
sistoaccoj \\ve, Vkw&cvqA
laxaVvve. twwAv.Sytuy ejFvfc&LVwAr
tj Semyfowh roubles wj>u\ar
V\n\s io% so V\\a\ asMs\awcc \o nature,
may be £radua% d\?>venscd w\Hv
w hen no \cn£er needed, as Wvebtsl sj
r;«\vi\es wVuu^uvced ate \eass\st
$UI\C\\OY\S AvWWusl dcpeuii vvWv-
mate\y v\\wn \itc\kt v\o\vt\s\vmetv\,
(jTcp-.r cftovtSxwA T\$vt\\vux$ ^cnsraWy-
Tu £:t\b bcr.sycvA cJJtcKaWyshuy tta ijenxivnt,
Fig Syrup Co.
50LD BY ALL LFADINC DRUGGISTS
ONE SlZtLeiNLY— REOULAR PRIL£ 50* PER BOTTLC
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Fox, J. O. Lexington Leader. (Lexington, Okla.), Vol. 18, No. 29, Ed. 1 Friday, April 9, 1909, newspaper, April 9, 1909; (gateway.okhistory.org/ark:/67531/metadc110358/m1/3/: accessed December 14, 2018), The Gateway to Oklahoma History, gateway.okhistory.org; crediting Oklahoma Historical Society.