Sunday..........September 23, 1883
FROM EASTERN NEVADA.
Passed Trouble—Reese River Flour and Wheat—Barley—A Chapter on Potatoes—Incipient Talent Developing—Piute Tribal Relations and Relatives—Where George Washington Should Have Been Born and Brought Up—Society Notes and Comments.
[Correspondence of the Enterprise.]
AUSTIN, Nev., September 21, 1883.
The regular annual cloudburst having failed to put in its appearance, as usual, and the period of feverish expectancy having passed completely without even a slight demonstration in that respect, our citizens are cooling down with the cooler weather to their regular mutton and potatoes. The old stiffs confess their disappointment at the non-repetition of the disaster of August, '78, but now prognosticatingly and hopefully look forward to next year for proper vindication.
REESE RIVER FLOUR.
The new flouring mill, down at Ledlie, some half dozen miles from here, on the banks of the raging Reese, proves to be the complete success that it was anticipated to be, and has turned out numerous sacks of most excellent flour, which finds very ready sale in Austin, as it should. Hereafter, wheat will doubtless be made the principal grain crop, in order to keep that mill in profitable work. The wheat produced in this section is generally plump, heavy and good, with a fair average yield per acre, and very little more cost in raising than in many sections of our more favored sister State, California. Many a poor farmer in the Golden State is happy if he is lucky enough to get half as much for his wheat as our farmers do. By judicious management of the wheat production and in selling the flour a trifle cheaper than other brands can be transported from California and elsewhere over the railroads, our grain-producing farmers should control their own market, and Reese River flour, from its superior excellence alone, find ready sale in outside localities.
Barley is a hardier, and, therefore, more common crop, but the market for it being limited, remunerative prices, or even sale for it, cannot always be obtained. Potatoes, however, are always in order and all right so far as a market is concerned. That honest old vegetable is always welcome to the population of Austin. Everybody buys potatoes, regardless of price, even the very earliest and most unwholesomely unripe being eagerly snapped up at a bit a pound. But now the ranchers are bringing them in from all sides, and they are not only cheap—two cents by the sack—but of the highest order of merit, large, slick and mealy. The potato crop rarely or never failing in suitable localities, and the yield being plentiful, the triumphant spud rancher is the bonanza man from the rural suburbs. It is not necessary to be an Irishman to properly appreciate a good potato, and especially those raised in this section. That royal old chief of the vegetable kingdom comes forth from the pot in steamy, fragrant glory, his clean, brown vest gently parting and rolling back its collar, as he proudly throws out his white, fleecy breast to your enraptures gaze. How one's mouth waters as the anticipations of a little salt and good sweet butter come in connection therewith, and how eagerly and beneficially that welcome combination is sought and judiciously put into practical effect. Argus-eyed, smooth-faced and mealy-mouthed though he be, none can ever accuse the potato of being hypocritical. He has frequently been used as pelting demonstration of popular reproof to unworthy actors or lecturers on the stage, but has never run for office or from an officer. There's nutriment in him; he shows his noble qualities in his honest face, and is, therefore, deservedly popular and appreciatively admired. (How's that for a spud eulogy?)
Eastern Nevada perhaps produces no smarter or worse specimen boys and girls than the older and reputably more sinful western portion of the State, and perhaps Austin is no criterion in that respect; but it was here that Emma Nevada spent her youthful culminating days, with her parents, and from Austin she went forth to unprecedented success in the European world of operatic harmony. And we have boys of tender years and a great capacity who may yet astonish the world as high-toned, first-class stage robber, burglars or petty larceny thieves. They are sent to school, get there sometimes, smoke cigarettes, swear like young troopers, steal, lie and possess other qualifications. One not very bright looking little chap, with a sharp nose, thin face and pensive eye, will operate as a petty larceny thief, work his way up to high-toned burglary, and graduate in the State Prison. Another more stalwart youth will in due time step out on the road as a resolute and successful stage robber. Not many seem cut out for murderers, yet may have undeveloped and unexpected talents in that line and make their mark, to the surprise of all who know them best. Parents, here or in other localities, should be a little more vigilant, and see that their boys go to school, or are properly kept disciplined or judiciously employed.
The Piutes about Austin are all healthy, prosperous, and thrive and increase, and have more children and tribal relations than anybody. There are many good looking women and young girls among them, and the men are generally tall, well-built fellows. They are around among the whites a great deal, yet do not seem to adopt many of the vices of the pale-face very readily. Some of them swear and drink whisky pretty well, and in due time may become as bad as the whites. How to properly care for, and judiciously rule and manage these wards of the nation, and original occupants of the country, has always been a perplexing domestic and judicial problem. They are allowed to run their own affairs, manage themselves, and preserve their tribal relations to a very considerable extent, even in the matter of crime committed among themselves. They are literally native Americans, naturally citizens, yet were they legally held to be citizens, under the law they should be allowed full liberty in the "pursuit of happiness," even to getting drunk, in which case it could be no legal crime to sell them whisky. Self-interest and self-defense, however, suggests that no Indians should be allowed unrestricted rights and privileges, any more than should thousands of irresponsible, low-trash whites. Lo is low enough generally, without making him any lower. Over in California his "tribal relations" have become mixed with the whites to such an extent that the aboriginal race has become nearly run out. All judicial problems in that respect are rapidly solving themselves.
THE HOME OF TRUTH.
One grand feature of Austin is prevalent and universal truthfulness. Old residents and pioneers do not know how to lie, and even tough immigrants from the Comstock and elsewhere gradually lose all their natural abilities in that line, through a sympathetic leaching process, as it were, and become purified to the regular prevailing standard. Mr. Dadd, who came here with old Reese, and was the first to subside into this local stratum of chronic truthfulness, has not been able to tell a lie for twenty years. An enthusiastic missionary, who several years ago desired to write a book on this subject, wanted to get Mr. Dadd's portrait for a front page illustration, but his native modesty would not allow him to be thus made a second George Washington. A good square liar might prove a refreshing variety in Austin, and perhaps do well here, if he could only hold out.
A committee of gentlemen from Reno have just arrived for the purpose of securing a few million of those fragrant black sanitary bugs, mentioned in my last letter. Reno is bound to outhealth Carson if those all-stink-absorbing beetles can do it.
Yesterday old Swipes sat on a bar-room box gazing wistfully at a livery stable horse hitched on the other side of the street. "What a happy animal," said he, soliloquizingly, "always good for the drinks; always got a bit in his mouth."
Spykens has got over being nervous at having to spend two minutes every night winding up that Waterbury watch of his before going to bed. While he does it he now says the Lord's Prayer, Now I Lay Me, and the Ten Commandments, and is fast becoming of a deeply religious turn of mind. He can't do without it, and commends them to preachers, missionaries and all others who wish to be good and do good. The years of a man's life thus wound away he considers as so many treasures laid up in Heaven for future reference and benefits.
Watermelons are plenty and cheap, and so is paregoric at the drug stores. The stomach of the juvenile Piute can stand off watermelon rind, however, without any artificial assistance.
Stox quiet; politix ditto. ALF DOTEN
Notes and Questions
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The individual named "Mr. Dadd", in the "Home of Truth" segment of this letter, is probably not a real person, but rather a fictitious character Doten employs as a writing device in several letters. There was a man in the region, William Dadd, who was 22 in the June 21, 1880 U.S. Census, but he was a "cowboy;" a native of New York who was bunking at "Station Keeper" John Devans' place, not in Austin proper.
Thanks! Dadd shows up at least 5 times in the diaries. We will be able to use this information in annotations for him.