Leon Reporter
Leon, Decatur County, Iowa
Thursday, October 9, 1902

The following marriage licenses have been issued by Clerk Kehler since our last issue:






[transcribed by N.M.S., February 2007]

Leon Reporter, Leon, Iowa
Thursday, October 9, l902

It is somewhat late to write, but the heavy rains and busy harvest prevented me from visiting a great many of my old time friends in Decatur County and I know of no other way (only individually) to inform my many friends. I was obliged to leave off my safe arrival in the land where the lost sheep of Israel got lost or maybe dwelt. I seen the effects of too much rain all the way through Missouri and far in Kansas but finally struck the familiar droughty looking country at Renfro, a goodly place to look at, but sun, sun, sunshine told the same old story of dried up pasture and having to feed their cattle at that place. I think ED GRIFFIN could tell you a thing or two about it and our ranch and shanty also; but he being a bachelor from choice may not have noticed the house. Back to my subject again or I will make a mess of it and that is easy done.

We arrived at El Reno the second day after leaving Iowa, completely covered with dust, the first that had been on us for two months, but we got safely in the bus enroute for the Choctau depot one and one half miles away. I thought once I had lost LELAH but soon discovered her seated at the other end of the bus, enveloped in a cloud of dust and sand in her eyes shining like stars in a mud hole and her complexion the same color. The Indian says he would rather have too much rain than too none. I agreed with him in that respect. We either blew to Geary or went by steam, it was difficult to tell which had the most power. We found J.D. looking fat and hearty and ready with the big wagon to take us home, l3 miles away, got home sometime in the night. A quick trip, one day in Iowa the next in Oklahoma, where they had not had any rain for seven weeks and sand a foot deep and out of sight in height but it is of no use for me to say anything for I will have to live here; for the last week I was in Iowa, I had an attack of asthma and one since I came home and that is the reason this letter was not finished sooner. Since writing the above we have had two of Oklahoma's big rains; it poured from a double set of clouds that is the kind it rains from here, and now everything is looking green and summery. No frost yet but the folks are cribbing corn.

J.D. has been coon hunting several times after night but failed to catch any, so last week he and old Mage, (the hound) caught a big one in daylight. It would take a whole column to describe the fight as he tells it, the coon and dog in and out of the water (I think JOHN fell in too) up the canon, into a pile of cedar brush before it was killed. But the snake story he told yesterday I will leave for another time, and you may want to know something in regard to the selling of dead Indians' allotments. John Tyler, the agent at Bridgeport was at our house and this is what he told us; first you get the consent of the Indian that hired the land you want. He sets his price what he will take, if it is too high or low, it will be appraised by the agent; you take your Indian to Segars Cantonment, Darlington or whichever territory or district it is in, bear all expenses, no whiskey or bartering of any kind allowed, nothing but solid cash counts in the transaction and that is deposited, your application filed up or sent off to Washington for a deed and there are stacks of applications already. Major Stouch just returned from Washington, had three more agents appointed to assist him in the business which is quite complicated. The titles are hard to adjust, the father gets it all even if he is a squaw man. One instance I know of I will tell you. Johnny Moore, his wife was an Indian, they had two children but both are dead and he inherits both quarter sections of land, his wife not having any interest in it at all. Wolf Robs, the chief near us will not allow his tribe to offer their land for sale yet awhile. He and the other chiefs had some kind of a pow wow across the river last week about their land but the law has passed and they will have to abide by it. Some of the land is selling at $500, $l,000, $l,500, $2,000 per quarter section.

Oh, how true the saying, "no one knoweth what a day may bring forth." Just as we were eating supper Saturday evening, September l3th, FRED came from Hydro with a telegram for J.D. from CLINT STRONG to come at once for his father was fatally hurt by a horse. JOHN and FRED started immediately to Hydro but could catch no train until 4 o'clock Sunday morning. SOL STRONG was also on the train going to Parkersburg where DOC lived (about 43 miles from us). DOC had just moved to his claim 2 l/2 miles from town; they could get no conveyance and had to walk, when they got there he had been dead twenty minutes, died just as the sun rose Sunday morning, September l4th. On Thursday morning before he was at work near his pasture and feeling tired concluded he would catch a loose horse that belonged to his son, JOHN, and ride it to the house. He had some trouble in catching it but caught it, got on without halter or bridle. The horse was a gentle one but he began to rear and jump with him and started down the railroad grade with him plunging at every jump. The horse was quite poor and J.D. said had the highest withers of any horse he ever saw and DOC being so heavy. He told them he ws mortally hurt before he tumbled off on the ground. He struck on his shoulder but said the fall did not hurt him much. One man spoke of it this way, "he was just completely churned to death before he fell to the ground." Every jump the horse made threw him forward on his abdomen, bursting some of his vital organs beyond all surgical skill. RUBY saw his father trying to catch the horse and started to him with a rope. When he got there DOC was clutching the grass and trying to crawl to the house. DOC told him to go to the house (not very far) and get the horse and buggy and come after him. When SARAH and HARRY CHAPMAN got to him, he had unfastened his clothing, they saw he was bleeding internally. He told them he was done for and there was no use to go for a doctor. They were two hours getting him to the house. It nearly killed him to move him the least bit and they had to slide the buggy along, the two little boys and SARAH and HARRY. They sent for the doctor immediately. He gave them a little hope, but Friday he got worse and they sent to Cordell for a surgeon. He performed an operation which relieved him for a short time. He suffered intense agony all the time as opiates seemed to have but little effect on him. On Saturday his son, JOHN, asked him if he knew he could not recover. He says did the doctors say I could not, can't they remove the blood and water anymore. JOHN told him no, they could do nothing more for him. DOC says death must come to all just as well me as anybody. He had sent for RAY before he got hurt, but he never come, LYDIA had been very low with typhoid fever, was just beginning to get better. She knew her father was hurt but when I came home knew nothing of his death. He called all of his family in one by one, bade them all goodbye, gave each of his boys sound and ever to be remembered advice; never to touch a drop of whiskey as long as they lived and each one promised they would not. He told them to tell RAY the same. I hope none will attempt to break that solemn deathbed promise. SARAH said to him what shall I do DOC? He says that is not for me to say, I might advise you wrong but be good to the little boys. He never shed a tear during all this heart renderine (sic) scene of his last and final farewell to all of earth, and his children were all of earth to him. He was conscious until about one half hour before death came.

I have seen death in a great many forms but I never have seen a finer looking corpse than DOC as he lay in a beautiful casket of black. He looked so calm, serene and peaceful, there was something I cannot describe, but the expression about the mouth seemed to me to say, it is death and I have got to go. There was not a sear or frown on his countenance to mar the noble look death gave it. I could not help but think what a fine cast in marble his head and face would make. I think he was buried the 33rd anniversary of his marriage, only 52 years old -- so young to die. I was glad when I got to that desolate looking town that I came, for I thought there would be a very few to follow him to his last resting place, but there was a large crowd of people and many friends among them for I heard many a good word spoken of him, some saying he was kind and good to me when I was sick, other he never passed me by if I was old without a friendly word.

Genuine sympathy and sorrow for his bereft family was felt by all I talked with. His grave was in a lonely place and the coyotes may howl over it by night but the blessed sunshine will cover his grave by day. A shining betoken of light hereafter. This is the last sad tribute I can offer for a brother he always seemed to me.

I have written this near as I could from all the particulars as SARAH told me.


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Updated 13 Dec 2020
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