(12 Sept. 1882)
Contact: Crystal Wendt
Surnames: Brown, Hoyt, Prentice
----Sources: Neillsville Times (Neillsville, Clark County, Wis.) 12 Sept. 1882
Greenwood - 4 Sept. 1882
Editors Times: Just two weeks ago this morning the writer, in company with others, left for the great plains of Dakota. Much has been crowded into the past two weeks by way of seeing and hearing, shooting and fishing. The question has been asked me since my returned a thousand times and more, "How do you like Dakota?" In brief, it has its advantaged and disadvantages, like every clime and country. Their crops this year are generally good and well secured in the shock and stack and threshing commenced, averaging about twenty bushels to the acre, twenty five bushes rye, forty bushels oats, with a good potato prospect. The corn looks poor. The corn in Clark County, Wis., stands pre-eminently above anything we saw in Minnesota or Dakota.
My constant thought while there was that there was too much land; the eye would grow dim looking over the vastness of the prairie acres, with not a shrub, or even bunch of willows to mark the alighting of a bevy of pinnate grouse.
A great mistake of those seeking homes on this plains is, they want all the land that joins them, while one hundred and sixty acres well taken care of will produce for the more than dollars than twice or thrice that amount poorly tilled and husbanded, as I saw in too many places. An ordinary farmer cannot well look after and care for more than one hundred acres. He can secure to himself a larger income, with less labor and expense, than he could possibly do with a larger acreage half tilled.
The tree claim business seems but a farce, for not one in ten who takes tree claims ever go on and fulfill the law in regard to them, although the tree claim business is a success if cared for.
B. F. Brown, one of our old timers at Greenwood, whose guests we were, has a wooded belt of timber, of some forty acres, made thrice beautiful by nature, skirted on all sides by lakes teeming with fish, ducks and geese. It is a charming spot.
After roaming over the prairie all day with dog and gun, without seeing a bush sufficiently large to shelter a jack rabbit, and returning to the cool, life giving shade of Brown’s grove, makes one’s soul leap for joy as it would the weary traveler’s to find an oasis in the great Sahara desert. Mr. Brown has just garnered his crops which are two hundred bushels of rye, one thousand bushels of wheat, one thousand four hundred bushels of oats, fifty bushels of peas, one hundred and fifty bushels of barley, with a prospective crop of five hundred bushels of potatoes. Field corn crop is light, garden corn stands thirteen feet high.
Dakota is comparatively new yet, and as she stands today the laboring classes in Clark County have far neater homes and more of the comforts of life, then they have today in Dakota. We have, no doubt, however, but that a few years more will work great changes there.
The weather while I was there was beautiful in the extreme, and as a place for sportsmen I would add, the sun never shone on grander fields, and Jones could tell no bigger fish stories than we saw. We shot ducks and chickens until our guns almost condemned the slaughter.
At Esteline, Hamlin County, we met an old time friend, J. M. Hoyt, who is now Register of Deeds of that county. He took us out for a chicken shoot and a two hour’s fish on Lake Poinsett. In the two hours we took out fifty pickerel from eighteen to thirty inches long, which was the grandest fishing the writer ever saw or expects to see.
G. W. Prentice returned from Dakota after a months sojourn on his farm.
With all our love for the sublime and branchless acres of the prairies, we were glad to look once more upon the majestic oak of the forest and the towering pine, even the stumps that they once roosted upon.
-- Von Goth.
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