Letter from Riley Walrod

Riley is related to the Walrod family of Clinton County and his son published a genealogy of the Walrod's in 1941.

The following letter was published in the Ida County Pioneer.  There is no date on the article but the letter was dated Feb. 19, 1909.

From Riley Walrod

Our Old Friend Writes a Letter

Very Enthusiastic About Canada


Good people all please hear my say;
    Of six years in sunny Alberta
The land is cheap, the soil is good
    And well supplied with coal and wood.

When strangers come they seem amazed
    When they behold the grain that's raised
They say at once, no more we'll roam
    We'll make Alberta now our home.

They write their friends, but not in rhyme
    About Alberta's sunny clime
The creeks and streams with speckled trout
    The ducks and geese that fly (torn)

In autumn days near set of sun
    They shoot these down and call it fun
They bring them in to stew and fry
    While their wet socks hang up to dry.

Some chickens here, are hatched by steam
    And nothing churned except the cream
Alberta's butter and her cheese
    Find ready sales beyond the seas.

No wonder why, both old and young
    Of almost every land and tongue
Are rushing here like bees in swarms
    To take up homesteads or buy farms.

So my dear friends, pray don't go
    To blistering Texas, or barren Colorado
But come to the land of sunshine
    Where a farm is better than a gold mine.

I want to meet you all, at the Golden Gate
    And right her now, I might state
While you may think, I have an axe to grind
    These lines are from a contented mind.

Our old friend Riley Walrod, who went to Canada a few years ago and may be small fortune in Alberta lands has written The Pioneer and interesting letter which includes his usual bit of rhyme.  It follows:

Olds, Alberta, February 19, 1909, Friend Clarkson:  As I have not written you for about two years I thought perhaps she would like to hear the echo of my gentle voice once more.  I also want to extend a word of sympathy to you all in this your hour of grief.  Will also send a V to replenish your exchequer and keep the Journal of civilization and enlightenment coming to me weekly in 1909, for a friend in need is a friend indeed--and all delinquents should come to your aid at this time, after being forced to go through such wonderful freaks of the elements as poor old Ida County has encountered this winter.  I can't figure out what you have been doing to cause a calamity of this kind to come over you, for every officer in your courthouse are jolly good fellows and brother Bleakly and brother Corrie finally got back where they were mostly needed at Des Moines.  There must be some underhanded work going on somewhere that I don't know anything about to cause such a cyclone to pursue you in the dead of the winter.

I also heard that the wind was going 90 miles an hour and Brother Hartley's famous Texas country, I should think and 90 mile gale would be a pretty stiff breeze for the centipedes, tarantulas and niggers to face.  Also see over to Brother Lynch's famous red soil district in Colorado that they are snowed under 6 to 8 feet deep.  Tom, won't that be rather hard on cactus and prairie dogs to be buried so deep?  There will be a terrible barking when the snow goes off if the dogs are not all smothered.

Never mind, boys, just write a little poetry and some one will follow you over there when the clouds have cleared away.

I also see brother A. J. Buell has at last found a panacea for his pains over in a little valley in Oregon; he told me the last time I was in Ida Grove that he made the mistake of his life when he was here in 1902 that he did not locate here but I will call on hime when I go to the Youkon Exposition at Seattle in June and fix it up with him.

It is a good thing we don't see everything alike, boys, after all, for if every body could see Alberta like I do, the trains couldn't carry the settlers that would want to locate here.

Alberta has 5 times the square miles that Iowa has and there are thousands of acres of choice land here to be had at a reasonable price.  The Canadian Government gave a land grant of 300 acres to every soldier that fought in the South Africa war, and we are selling the 320 acre tracts now at $550.00 each and one man can hold down 7 scrips or a section for three years and easily be worth $10000.  This is not hot air, but cold facts.

We have had a splendid winter, not a single snow storm so far.  The roads are as smooth as glass; have had about 4 inches of snow, just enough to make the best of sleighing.

John Wilkinson, manager of the Reed Ranch, told me their 6000 head of cattle were doing fine and he did not feed a spear of hay before Jan. 1st, and 1000 head have been rustling on the prairie getting their own living to the present date.

Hay fed cattle are being contracted at 5 cts per pound live weight for April delivery, and we expect to sell $3000,000 worth of Real Estate this year for we sold $225,000 worth last and people are just beginning to find out what Alberta will do.  Will write a few verses in rhyme to keep up with the rest of the Ida Grove boys.

Yours truly,

R. P. Riley.



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