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Biographical Sketch 

Writings and Addresses 
Words of Appreciation 
Resolutions and Tributes 






J.A.Johnson . . .... Frontispiece 

J. A. Johnson at Age of 23 . . . . . .8 

The J. A. Johnson Residence, Fargo, N. D. . . .14 

The Fargo Freak — Will Wonders Never Cease? . -32 

No, He Isn't Crazy — Fargo Merely Thought of Something 
She Would Like, and He is Going After It . . -56 

Each to Himself — "Now, That's Meant for a 'Josh' on 
One of Us — But Which One, I Wonder!" . . .100 

Undoubtedly a Coming Man . . . . . -150 

The Little One — "Hi, There! Get Out of the Road or 
I'll Run Over You!" 170 

They Will See a City — Mayor Dimie Will Entertain the 
Rural Mayors To-day, and Show Them What the Word 
"Metropolitan" Means ...... 184 

The Uncertainty of Flirtation — The W. C. T. U. Dele- 
gates Go Back on Their Promise to Grand Forks, and 
Will Sunday at Fargo ...... 206 

The Elder One — "Now, Sonny, if You Want Anything 
More Just Name It" ....... 220 



J. A. Johnson was born in Vexio, Sweden, April 24, 1842. 
He came to this country with his parents in October, 1853, and 
settled in Marine Mill, Minnesota. During his boyhood he at- 
tended the public schools in Stillwater, Minnesota, and Dubuque, 
Iowa, also the Epworth Seminary at Epworth, Iowa. 

At the beginning of the war he was in Texas, where he had 
gone to embark in cattle-raising, stayed too long after secession 
began, was given the choice of volunteering into the Confederate 
Army or hanging. He volunteered and became a Texas Ranger, 
serving under General Cabel. He was in four battles, and was 
wounded in the cavalry charge when General Ben McColluch was 
killed at Pea Ridge, Arkansas. He was at Corinth, Mississippi, and 
later with J. Kerby Smith in Kentucky. He became an officer in 
the Confederate Army, and served on the staff of General Daniels 
of Georgia. The time he had agreed to serve expired while at 
Corinth, Mississippi, May 29, 1862; he then felt he was under 
no legal or moral obligations to stay, so went to Seymour, Indiana, 
October 13, 1862, at the evacuation of Camp Robinson, Ken- 
tucky. In Seymour he went railroading, and was promoted 
rapidly; became an engineer in fourteen months, then went 
South for the Government, the youngest man in the service 
holding such a responsible position; he went over the same 
ground where he had been as a Confederate officer and soldier. 
He was mustered out at the close of the war with the rank of 
Major. At the close of the war, he went to St. Louis, Missouri, 
where he married Miss Agnes A. Coler, who is still living. They 
had six children; viz., Alice E., J. Chester, Clarence F., L. Ward 
(dead), Laura A., Lawrence E. 



Mr. Johnson engaged in the farming and lumbering business 
in Marine Mills, Minnesota, where in 1872 he was elected town 
clerk. In 1873 he was elected SheriflF of Washington County, 
being re-elected in 1875 and 1877. At each re-election he received 
every vote cast in the county, a distinction never accorded any 
other man before or since. 

In 1879 he was again offered the Republican nomination for 
Sheriff, with the indorsement of other political organizations, but 
he declined, and that fall he came to Fargo to look the ground 
over; in March, 1880, he again came to Fargo, and established 
the first branch machinery house in the interests of Seymour, 
Sabin & Co., in which corporation he was a large stockholder. 
From that branch house, established by him in 1880, has grown the 
implement distributing business in Fargo, until Fargo to-day 
ranks second as a distributing point in values. 

While Sheriff of Washington County, Minnesota, he studied 
law in the office of Judge William McClure, and was admitted 
to practice in all the courts of Minnesota and Dakota, although 
after coming to Fargo he only used his knowledge of law for his 
own business. 

He was always a Republican; he cast his first vote for Levi 
P. Morton for Governor of Indiana, and his second vote for 
Abraham Lincoln for President. 

He was honored in many ways, he was elected to the City 
Council in Fargo for two years, but after serving one year he 
resigned and was at once elected to the Board of Education. In 
1883 he was elected a member of the American Committee of 
the Statue of Liberty. Was elected Mayor of Fargo in 1885, 
defeating Charles R. Redick by the largest majority ever given 
a candidate. Since then he has been elected four times, defeating 
his opponent by the largest majority ever given a mayoralty 
candidate. He was serving his fifth term at the time of his demise. 

In 1884 he was nominated as the citizens' candidate for the 
territorial council in opposition to Hon. D. H. Twomey, one 


of the most prominent lawyers of that time, and also a resident of 
Fargo. The result in Fargo was just three votes for Mr. Johnson 
to one for Mr. Twomey, and in the county of Cass Mr. Johnson's 
majority was over 1,300. 

In 1890 he went to Caracas, Venezuela, where he assumed 
the duties of general manager for the Caracas and Venezuela 
Street Railway, Telephone, Electric Light, and Paper Mills, in 
which corporations he was a heavy stockholder; but owing to 
ill-health, he was compelled to return to the United States sooner 
than he intended. 

In 1895, when he assumed the office of mayor for the second 
time, he found that the large tracts of land belonging to different 
railroads that center in Fargo had not been assessed for taxation 
as required by law. He at once had them assessed, and re-assessed 
in 1897, and at the convening of the North Dakota Legislature 
that year he was before that body with a law permitting the going 
back to statehood and assessed the property that had not been 
assessed. He met the railroad lobby, defeating it and securing 
the passage of the act by a more than two-thirds vote, and having 
the Governor approve it, and it is now a law. When the retroac- 
tive assessment was made by the County Commissioners, he did 
not think it was a just assessment and requested the board to 
raise it, but they refused to do so. He then went before the State 
Board of Equalization and again met the railroad attorneys, but 
secured a raise of twenty-five per cent over the assessment as made 
by the County Commissioners. 

He was one of the organizers of the League of American 
Municipalities, an international organization of municipal offi- 
cers. The first meeting took place at Columbus, Ohio. Mr. 
Johnson was given a very prominent part by having a new issue 
to discuss; that of "Uniformity of State Laws Pertaining to City 
Government." He presided at the session where the constitution 
was adopted and at the election of the first officers; and had 
the honor of introducing Hon. John Mac Vicar, the first President; 


at this meeting he was made Vice-President for North Dakota. 
Out of 600 municipal officers present, he was selected to make 
the presentation speech on a set of books on "Municipal Owner- 
ship," to Mayor Black of Columbus. Since this meeting he has 
served as Director, Vice-President, and later as President of the 
organization — being unanimously elected to the position at 
Charleston, South Carolina, in 1900. At Jamestown, New York, 
he was greatly honored by having the Presidency of the League 
oflfered to him the second time, an honor never accorded any 
other President; but Mr. Johnson refused, giving as his reason 
that there were many mayors in the League — both representing 
cities of greater habitation and years older than himself — and 
he felt some of these should have the honor of this office. 

Before the League he delivered addresses at Columbus, Ohio ; 
Detroit, Michigan; Syracuse, New York; Charleston, South 
Carolina and Jamestown, New York. He was invited to address, 
the League at East St. Louis in 1903, while he was ex-mayor, 
but illness would not permit him to accept. 

He was invited to and delivered addresses on various sub- 
jects in many cities in the Union. 

He was one of the six mayors invited to deliver, and did deliver, 
an address on Municipal Day, August 26, 1901, at the Pan- 
American Exposition, Buffalo, New York. The Directors of 
the Exposition gave a dinner for the six mayors selected to deliver 
addresses. During this trip he delivered addresses at Chautauqua 
and Long Point, New York. 

He had many honorary appointments given him — such as 
Colonel on the staffs of Governors Pierce and Fancher, Governor 
Fancher also appointed him a North Dakota delegate to the 
Farmers National Congress, Colorado Springs, Colorado. Gover- 
nor Sarles appointed him as delegate to the National Immigra- 
tion Convention in New York and to the National Irrigation 
Convention in Portland, Oregon. 

He, with Budd Reeve of Buxton, North Dakota, organized 


the Tri-State Grain-growers Convention, which brings thou- 
sands of visitors to Fargo ; he was made the first President of this 
organization and served in that capacity until he refused to longer 
hold the office, when he was unanimously elected Secretary, 
which position he held until the meeting in 1906, when sickness 
compelled him to decline the honor of the office again. 

For every meeting of the Tri-State Grain-growers, he alone 
secured the railroad rates, the money for the Convention and to 
publish the proceedings sending the books to the farmers free, 
until four years ago, when the Commercial Club of Fargo secured 
the money to pay for the Opera House, music, stenographer 
and incidental expenses, Mr. Johnson still secured the money 
for the publication of the books, except one year the State pub- 
lished the book and last year, when sickness would not permit him 
and the book was not published. 

During a meeting of the Tri-State Grain-growers Convention, 
Mr. Johnson prevailed upon Mr. James J. Hill to bring delega- 
tions of farmers, during the summer, to visit the Agricultural 
College. Mr. Hill, always glad to help the farmers, agreed to Mr. 
Johnson's proposition, and continues bringing the farmers each 
year to Fargo free. 

He, with Congressman Spalding, secured the Carnegie appro- 
priation for the "Public Library" Fargo, he was also instru- 
mental in securing the site for the library, and it was through his 
efforts that John F. Reynolds Post, G. A. R., now have a hall of 
their own in the Public Librar)-, without his help this could not 
have been secured. 

WTien Company "B" were on their way home from the Philip- 
pines, the committee decided to sell badges and so raise money 
to bring the "boys" home from San Francisco, free. Mr. Johnson 
put his shoulder to the wheel and succeeded in selling more 
badges than any one else. He also secured the "Spanish Can- 
non," from the Battleship Castile, the cannon now stands in 
Northern Pacific Park in Fargo. 


He was always the friend of the laboring man, and his friend- 
ship was returned, he was always keenly interested in anything to 
help Fargo, anything which would benefit the "Biggest Little 
City In The World" a phrase he coined years ago, in describing 
the city he loved, "Fargo." 

In 1897 he was appointed to the Consulship to Gothenberg, 
Sweden, but felt compelled to decline; this earned for him the 
title of "The Fargo Freak" and was cartooned as such in the 
newspapers in Minnesota and North Dakota. This appointment 
was offered Mr. Johnson without solicitation on his part and there 
were more than forty applicants at the time. 

He was twice offered the position of Deputy-Auditor of 
the Post Office Department of Washington, D. C, and in each 
case felt compelled to refuse the offer. He more than once 
refused the Secretaryship of the Commercial Club of Fargo and 
refused the appointment of Receiver of the Land Office in the 
western part of the country. 

At the time of his death he was serving as President of the 
Municipal League of North Dakota, an organization in which 
he was greatly interested, his associates being all broad-minded, 
progressive men. 

He travelled extensively, having crossed the ocean twelve 
times, had visited South America twice; the West Indies, four 
times; Central America, two times; and innumerable times to 
Mexico, he had travelled throughout Canada, from Nova Scotia 
to British Columbia, Alaska and every state in the United States. 
On his last trip in Europe in 1900-01, where he went in the interests 
of Sault Sainte Marie Railway, while in London, he was invited 
to attend Installation banquet in the Hotel Cecil, of the Jubilee 
Masters lodge No. 2712, to be the guest of honor, and to speak 
at the banquet. Also during this trip he was invited to a "Con- 
versazione," "to meet the Lord Mayor of London." 

Mr. Johnson was a member of the various Masonic bodies, 
including the Knights Templar and Mystic Shrine. He was 







one of the charter members of the Knights Templar of Fargo; 
before coming to Fargo he was a member of Bayard Commandery 
of Stillwater, Minnesota, and an officer in the order. 

He was a member of B. P. O. E. and U. C. T., the I. O. O. F., 
having held the position of Deputy Grand Master of Minnesota. 
He was also a member of the Minnesota Pioneers, and North 
Dakota and Cass County Old Settlers Associations, an honorary 
member of the Continental Hose Company of Fargo, and was one 
of the charter members of the Locomotive Engineers Association 
of Indiana. A member of the Volunteer Firemen of Seymour, 

Although Mr. Johnson had always fought the railroads in the 
interests of the people, it may be interesting to note, that the first 
trip he made to Fargo he came on a pass, and for the more than 
twenty-seven years he was a resident of Fargo he carried an 
"annual" whether he was an official or not; before the Inter- 
State Commerce Law, they were over the system; after that for 
the state ; but the railway officials never forgot their New Year's 

On June 14, 1907, at 8:00 a. m., he died at his home in Fargo 
of Bright's disease, having been affiicted with it for eighteen 
years. From 12:00 to 3:00 o'clock on Sunday, June i6th, he 
lay in state for the public. At 3 :oo o'clock Reverend R. A. 
Beard took charge of the services, which were private, as Mr. 
Johnson always disliked display at such a time, believing all 
should be as quiet as possible. At 4:00 o'clock the Knights 
Templar read their beautiful service and "kept watch" over him, 
till the departure of the Great Northern train at 10:30 p. m. 

Mr. Johnson was interred at Marine Mills, Minnesota, June 
17th, under the auspices of Bayard Commander^' of Stillwater. 




Only a few of the travels of Mr. Johnson are published, it 
would be impossible to publish all in this volume as he has written 
them. He crossed the ocean twelve times, visited the West Indies 
four times, took two trips to Central America also two to South 
America, was four times to Mexico, visited in every state in the 
Union, and through Canada from Nova Scotia to British Columbia 
— he also made very many interesting short trips. 

He always kept a strict account of all, and made interesting 
notes of what he saw. 


My family and I left Fargo for New Orleans. Our first 
stop was St. Paul, then Chicago and St. Louis. The morning 
after we left St. Louis I woke up at Belmont, Missouri, where 
the battle of Belmont was fought in November, 1861, between 
Generals Grant, McClellan, and Logan of the Union troops, 
and General Leonidas Polk of the Confederate troops. 

Crossing the Mississippi River on the transfer steamer St. 
Louis to Columbus, Kentucky, we saw some of the fortifications 
erected by the Confederates under General Polk to prevent the 
Union forces from passing down the Mississippi. This place 
was supposed to be, by the Confederates, impregnable, but 
Generals Grant, Foote, and Porter did not agree with them. At 
this place, we found about three inches of snow. We saw snow 
as far South as Corinth, Mississippi. We arrived in New 
Orleans three hours late, caused by the wreck of a train on another 



Next day we visited the United States Man-o'-War, "Ten- 
nessee" one of the largest vessels in the United States Navy. She 
carries a crew of 476 men. The United States Ships "AUiance" 
and "Yantic" are also here, the "Yantic" was one of the vessels 
on the Greeley relief expedition. 

We also visited the French Market, one of the sights of New 
Orleans. Here you will find every conceivable thing for sale 
and men of all nationalities under the sun, almost. 

We next went to the United States Mint. Here we saw silver 
bricks to the value of $800,000, ready to be coined into silver 
dollars. We saw the various processes of the coining of silver 
from when it goes into the furnace till they turn out the shining 
dollars. The last process is the dye or stamp, that has a pressure 
of eighty tons and turns out $80 per minute. 

We next went to the Jackson Square. Here we saw the 
bronze statue of the hero of New Orleans mounted on a large 
horse, standing on its hind legs. The statue is a remarkable 
good one, as it even shows the stitches in the seams of his boots 
and the nails in the horse shoes, sword, spurs, etc. On the granite 
base are the words, "The Union must and shall be preserved." 
We also saw Live Oaks, magnolia, orange trees and oranges 
on them; banana trees and shrubs and flowers of every kind. 
Next we went to the French Cathedral, this is one of the hand- 
somest church edifices in the United States as well as one of the 
oldest. In the church the paintings, statuary and scenes are 
exceedingly fine. Among the paintings is one representing 
"The Lord's Supper." The rocks sundered in twain, and the 
Lord coming forth to meet Mary Magdalene. 

We then visited the statue of Henry Clay on Cannal Street. 
This is a bronze statue, he stands in full dress with a roll of manu- 
script in his hands as though he were about to make a speech. 
Then came the Robert Lee statue, this also is bronze, standing 
on a tall white shaft. The shaft stands on a granite base. There 
is not a letter of any kind on either monument or base. From 















t!lD&n founds t ions 


here we started for the Battle-field of New Orleans on the steamer 
Isabel. We saw the United States National Cemetery, of 14 
acres of ground, in which there are 13,000 Union soldiers buried, 
A quarter of a mile north, and up the river from this place is 
where General Jackson had his headquarters and where the 
Americans had their fortifications, some of which are still to be 
seen. \Miile about 300 yards down the river was Lord Park- 
house headquarters, with four Live Oak trees and the British 
line, Lord Parkhouse was killed under these trees and his en- 
trails are buried there. In one of the trees you can still see and 
put your hands on two cannon balls that are imbedded in it. 

Then came Spanish Fort, the old Fort said to have been built 
by the Spaniards when they owned the country. We also saw 
here six of the largest alligators on the trip. We heard the 
Mexican band of 40 pieces, which gave a concert in the afternoon. 
You will find many summer hotels at this place. We now took 
a sail boat for Lake Ponchatrain (part of the Gulf of Mexico), 
here, like at Spanish Fort, there are large alligators, summer 
hotels, nice walks, shrubbery and flowers in profusion. They 
have also a puzzle garden arranged in the walk, wherein you are 
liable to have to retrace your steps a half dozen times before you 
get through. In this garden are statuary, in marble and bronze 
of various kinds, grottos, fish ponds, etc. This place and Spanish 
Fort are as nice as any places we have ever seen in the South. 

We took the train for the Cannal Street Cemetery, where we 
saw marble busts of Lee, Stonewall Jackson, Polk and A. S. 
Johnson, with a Confederate soldier done in marble also, standing 
in full uniform on the top of the monument. This was erected 
in 1874 by the "Ladies Benevolent Society of Louisiana." 

The tombs are all built on top of the ground, as the soil is so 
soft and wet that you cannot bury in it. 

We saw one of the relics of the Civil War in the shape of a 
torpedo boat, made something like a fish with a propeller wheel 
which was intended to be used with compressed '?"air. It was 


to go on top or under the water, as it might be needed. This 
boat was tried several times in Lake Ponchatrain and several 
men were killed in the experiments before the Confederates gave 
it up as a failure. We took boat and went to the Customs station, 
Forts Eads, Jackson and Philipps and the quarantine station, then 
we returned to the city. Before leaving we saw the Mardi Gras 
procession. It was a grand and beautiful sight, we spent a day and 
evening at this and then left for Mobile where we stayed several 
days, then to Memphis and Nashville and from there we started 
on a trip to all the old Southern battle-fields, to describe it all at 
this time would be too tiresome for you to read. After spending 
some time in the South we left for Fargo, arriving there a warm 
spring day, to find that the man we left in our home had let the 
water pipes burst, and the greeting we received was plasterless 
ceilings on the lower floor of the house. 


Left Fargo for Central America on January, arriving in St. 
Paul next morning where I was joined by Mr. Joseph Schupp of 
Stillwater. We then went on to Chicago, where I called on an old 
Seymoure friend, W. R. Woodward, Gen. Supt. Louisville, New 
Albany & Chicago Ry. Our next stop was at Seymoure, Indiana, 
where I met many old-time friends, among them being C. B. 
Cole, Supt. O. &. M. Ry., Andy Ross, Master Mechanic, George 
and Isaac Apgar, and others. From here we went to Chattanooga, 
where we spent the day visiting Fort Wood, the point from which 
Generals Grant, Thomas, Sheridan and others watched the 
Union troops as they ascended Mission Ridge in the face of 
General Braggs Command. We also visited the National Ceme- 
tery where repose 12,976 Union soldiers, representing every state 
in the Union with Ohio in the lead, having 1,847 ^"<i Maine only 
one and Minnesota 107. Our next stop was at Memphis. I went 
to the Overton Hospital (now used as the court-house,) and found 


the room which I had occupied while I was sick in 1862. The 
old place had a ven^ familiar look to me. Left here for New 
Orleans where we arrived and called on Mayor E. A. Burke of 
the Times-Democrat. He is very much interested in Central 
America, and gave me letters of introduction to the various U. S. 
Consuls and prominent men, including the President and Com- 
manding General of Honduras. After spending several days in 
New Orleans, we then boarded the Steamship, Wanderer for 
the South. The steamship did not leave in time, not being able 
to start until 2:15 p. m. and steamed down the Mississippi past 
the Chalmette, the battlefield of New Orleans. The sugar and 
orange plantations showed the effect of the recent cold snap 
they had, looking seared and yellow. At 7:30 the fog raised so 
we cast anchor near the west shore, where we stayed all night. 

Next morning at 7 :3o A. m. we weighed anchor and went 
on down the Mississippi for an hour and a half, when the fog again 
rose, and we again cast anchor, and in doing so came very near be- 
ing run into by the steamship, Louisiana, a large iron steamer 
she loomed up in the fog, going up the river. Had not our pilot 
as well as hers, not acted promptly, she would have cut us in two. 
As it was, she did not pass over ten feet from us. At 10 o'clock 
we again proceeded down the river. We passed the quarantine 
station, where all vessels going up must stop and get a clean bill 
of health. 

We also passed Fort Jackson and St. Philipps, now practi- 
cally abandoned. It was at these forts the Union Fleet made 
such a heroic fight in the Spring of 1862 under Admirals Faragut 
and Porter, taking both forts and passing through the net-work of 
torpedos so as to capture New Orleans. We passed the jetties 
into the Gulf of Mexico at i :i5 p. m. Here we found the differ- 
ence between the river and the sea. The temperature was warmer. 
The sea itself is just rough enough to give the vessel a delightful 
motion. The sun set under a bank of clouds making it a most 
beautiful sight. 


Last night, January 24th, the vessel tossed more than any time 
since we left land, and several of the passengers were quite sea-sick. 
Mr. Schupp and myself were fortunate in not being affected by 
the tossing of the ship. The sun rose bright, the wind had changed 
from south-east to west, and the vessel had her sails hoisted to 
assist her engines. We, this morning, saw flying-fish in schools. 
They stay over the water as long as their wings are wet ; as soon 
as dry, they take to the water again. They can fly as far as three 
hundred yards with the wind. 

At 2 :oo p. M. we crossed the bows of a large steamer apparently 
coming from some Mexican port and bound for Cuba. She 
carried all the sails she had in addition to her engines. She passed 
about one mile astern of us. The wind had become quite sharp 
and several more of the passengers were absent from the dinner 
table. At 4 :oo p. m. we saw a sail on our starboard bow going 
toward the Mexican coast. We saw large numbers of porpoises 
which follow the ship for some time, jumping in and out of the 
water like sheep or hogs jump over a fence. The porpoise looks 
very much like a hog as it jumped out of the water. I am told 
that their flesh looks and tastes like pork and that their liver 
cannot be told from hog's liver. 

Last night it was quite rough, the wind being on our starboard. 
The vessel lying in the trough of the sea rolled badly. About 
12:00 the wind changed to the south-west and the sea became 
quieter so that after 3:00 a. m. we had comparatively smooth 
water. During the night we passed the Mexican Capes Catchehe 
(pronounced Catchute) and Contoy, and the Islands of ^Lingeres 
(pronounced Mohara) and Cancu, called Cancan, and when we 
arose we could see the Island of Cozumal, with its cocoa groves, 
coffee plantations, etc., this island is about ten miles from the 
main coast of Yucatan and belongs to Mexico, is thirty-five miles 
long and fourteen miles wide. It raises bananas, plantains, 
cocoanut, coffee and other tropical products. We stopped at 
this island to land a passenger at the village, San Migeuel. He 


goes there to look after a wrecked brig, loaded with mahogany. 
We followed the shore for about 20 miles, being all the way from 
one quarter of a mile to a mile from shore. We could distinguish 
the cocoa and other trees. 

After leaving Cozumal the wind went down and the Carribean 
Sea, that we had been in all day was as fine a sight as any one 
could wish to see. The sun went down in the west with a pros- 
pect of a quiet night. The only sails we saw to-day were fishing- 
boats off Cozumal and one of these was drawn on the beach as we 
passed it. At 12 :i5, at our request, the First OflScer called us to 
see the Southern Cross, something none of us had seen before. 
It is a beautiful sight, four stars forming it. 

The sun rose ne.xt morning, bright and quite warm as we 
came on deck, we could see the Mexican shore on the starboard 
and could readily distinguish the cocoa groves. 

At 8 :oo A. M. a Belize pilot boarded us and at 8 130 Maurgie 
Key on the port and English Key on the starboard, came in sight 
as well as the hills of British Honduras. We cast anchor at 
12:20 and, as soon as possible, procured a boat and went on 

The city of Belize is situated on a low point of sand on both 
sides of the Belize River. It contains a population of 7,000, 
composed principally of Caribs. These are a mixed race — 
negroes and Indians. The "niggers" are supposed to have been 
from some slave ship being stranded on the shores and the sur- 
vivors intermarr)'ing with the Indians. They are a hardy and 
intelligent people. They form the laboring population ; speak a 
lingo of their own, it is neither English, Spanish, French or any- 
thing else, but seems to be a mixture of all, though they nearly 
all speak English. 

There are two companies of soldiers here in which the privates 
and non-commissioned officers are natives. In the Market 
House the women have a shed where they sit and squat with the 
scantiest of clothing, with babies from five years old, down, and 


such a babble as they make. They sell all kinds of tropical 
fruits, though plantains seem to be the favorite. 

This is in every sense of the word, a tropical city, everything 
goes to assure it. The shade trees here are nearly all cocoanut 
palms and the wealth of flowers is beyond description. We here 
saw oleanders so large that a man could climb upon most of them, 
and as for roses, foliage plants and all kinds of exotics, they are 
as common as weeds. 

The business here is mostly in the hands of a few Scotchmen, 
who have grown wealthy. They make most of their money out 
of the mahogany trade which they practically have a monopoly 
of. They do not want any one to come in here. They have a 
good thing and practically say to strangers "hands off." They 
are not progressive; are not connected with the outside world by 
telegraph or otherwise, nor do they want to be. There are 
no roads leading into the country and though rich in natural 
resources, they do not seem to care to develop these riches. 
They get their mahogany floated down stream and fruit from its 
banks and that is all they seem to care for. We visited various 
points of interest, including the barracks and also called upon 
Honorable A. E. Mortland the U. S. Consul here, and were very 
pleasantly entertained by him. One peculiarity of this place 
is, that all business houses close their doors promptly at 4:00 p. m., 
and another is, that there are no places of amusement. They 
have no theatre of any kind, and never had. 

We also visited one of their schools and found from 50 to 60 
scholars with a man teacher in attendance. It seemed to be a 
primary school and I would like to have seen Professor Smith 
or any of our Fargo teachers go in there. I think you would 
smile, which I would enjoy to see. I will not make any comment 
on these schools but will simply say, that our children do not know 
when they are well off. 

We staid at the Union Hotel. At 9:00 p. m., the fire alarm 
sounded, and on going out we found one large and two small 


frame buildings in flames. We inspected their fire department 
and found two old fashioned hand brake engines, such as were 
used in the United States 50 years ago. I fancy any city in the 
United States of 1,000 population would throw these fire engines 
in the harbor in less than 15 minutes. 

On Wednesday, in company with Mr. Mortland, we visited 
the Colonial Prison, where we found 70 prisoners, with one under 
sentence of death. The Prison is located on the shore of the 
harbor, is large and very clean and nice, with the cells hardwood 
floors and sides. It is a place that would not hold an ordinary 
American prisoner over night. We also visited the hospital and 
insane asylum. There are only nine patients in the hospital 
of which three were paupers; the rest pay 25 cents per day. Con- 
nected with the hospital is a public dispensary where people with- 
out money can get medicine. It was in charge of Mr. Egan, a 
colored man. 

There were 20 patients in the insane asylum. We also visited 
the Exposition, it was about over. They were boxing the goods, 
preparatory to sending them to London. 

In the afternoon we called upon his Excellency, Governor 
R. T. Goldworthy, where we were treated with all the courtesy 
it was possible for him to extend to us. We were invited to dine 
with him on our return. He showed us through his garden, 
which contains ever}'thing that man wants on his table. At 
4:00 p. M. we got into a dorey and were taken back to the ship, 
and left Belize at 8:00 p. m., well pleased with our stay there. 
Thursday we landed at Livingston, Gautamala at 9:30 a. m. 
The steamer George Munsy came alongside to receive our cargo 
for the port, she also had on board cocoanuts, sarsaparilla, coffee 
and hides for the United States. 

Livingston is a port of considerable importance, at the mouth 
of the Rio Doad, a stream which is navigable by the steamer 
Muncy and other river boats for some distance. 

The town contains some 2,000 inhabitants of which about 


200 are white mostly Americans, the rest are Caribs and natives. 
Among the Americans that we met were Dr. Powlett, U. S. 
Consul of New Orleans and Mr. Ford of Louisiana, he has been 
here in the mahogany trade for the past 18 years. We did not 
land here to-day on account of our steamer not staying long 
enough for that purpose, but we will do so on our return. From 
here we can see British and Spanish Honduras and Gautamala 
with mountain ranges from 30 to 75 miles distant, in a semi-circle 
around the anchorage. We left Livingston for Santo Tomas 
and Puerto Barrios, two Gautamala ports. At Puerto Barrios 
there is a railway started for the Pacific coast about 250 miles 
distant, but on account of a "revolution" and lack of funds the 
project is for the present abandoned. It is graded 62 miles back. 
Santa Tomas is a village of some 1,500 people. Puerto 
Barrios is about three miles away. Santa Tomas has by all odds 
the best harbor of the two, it is an old Belgian settlement, having 
been settled in 1843. ^^ is a very pretty place and has three 
navigable streams emptying into the bay close to the town. 
We went ashore here and found it like all other towns in Central 
America. We found a few white people who controlled the busi- 
ness, while the natives do the laboring. We here for the first 
time saw the native huts, they are built on poles, sit perpendicular 
and tied to horizontal poles with vines. The upright poles are 
about one half to two inches apart, so that you can see through, 
and see what people do in them as you pass in the street. The 
floor is the earth and in one corner is a sort of brick oven or fire 
on the floor, where they do their cooking without chimneys, the 
smoke escaping through the sides or ends between the poles. 
In one of these huts we saw a native woman prepare the supper, 
and grind the corn for Tortilla or corn dodgers. This is done 
by placing the corn in a shallow semi-circular stone dish, about 
18 inches long and 10 inches wide, they then soften the corn 
with a little water after which they take a small stone 7x3 inches 
and rub the corn until it becomes a paste when it is made into 


cakes^about 4 inches in diameter'and one half inch thick, they 
put this cake on a flat piece of iron and bake it, without any 

We left Santa Tomas at 11 p. m. arriving at Puerto Cortez. 
Here we called upon General E. Craft the U. S. Consul who paid 
us every attention, and Hon. J. Benjiman, U. S. Consul, he like 
all that we met, treated us well, and went with us to the Custom 
House where our baggage was inspected and passed without any 
difi&culty and were taken to the American Hotel, where we found 
very comfortable quarters. In the afternoon, we strolled along 
the beach, picked up various kinds of shells. In the evening, we 
attended services in the Methodist Church; the only Protestant 
church in this part of Honduras, if not in the whole republic; 
the natives being nominally Catholics. The church has a mem- 
bership of 41. The services were performed in a creditable 
manner by a black man. 

In this bay are several towns and villages, the names being 
Puerto Cortez the principal place and Coro, Laguna, Cuguita, 
Tulian and Omoa. Each contains a population of about 4,000, 
lying in a semi-circle of about ten miles. Puerto Cortez is the 
port of entry, contains the Custom House, the headquarters of 
the Commanding General of the district, etc. 

Mornings and evenings we can see myriads of parrots, ma- 
caws and cockatoos flying to the banana and fruit plantations 
and returning to the coast to roost at night. We could also hear 
the baying of the baboon in the timber. This, we were informed, 
was a sure sign of approaching rain. 

To-day, Sunday, we accepted an invitation to dinner with 
Hon. J. Benjiman. He made it very pleasant for us indeed, show- 
ing us very many interesting things. He is engaged in stock-raising 
along with his Consular duties. 

Mr. Benjiman sent after and returned us in his dorey. This 
is a large canoe, thirty feet long and five feet wide, made of a 
single white mahogany sometimes called Adar. 


After returning to Puerto Cortez in the evening, we spent 
about two hours at the home of John D. MorraHes, formerly of 
New York. He has been here for eighteen years and, like all 
others who have been here for a long time, like it. 

We expected to leave Puerto Cortez on Monday, but unfor- 
tunately for us there was no train, so we were forced to stay here. 
The following day we left at 8:30 a. m. for San Pedro. Our 
first stop was at Laguna, about two miles from the place of starting. 
Here we stayed till 9:30 a. m. At 10:30 we were ten miles from 
the starting point. Here our engine was out of wood and we 
stopped to cut some, which took about thirty minutes. This 
I am told is an everyday occurrence. To provide fuel and run 
the engine requires seven men ; viz., one engineer, one fireman one 
passer, and four wood choppers, one brakeman and one conductor, 
With the train, next to the engine is a flat car, with low sides. On 
this, long sticks of wood are thrown. The engine starts and the 
wood choppers get to work to chop into the required length, which 
is about what would go into an ordinary cook stove. 

The road runs on the North shore of the Rio Chalmilian, 
while on the North side of the track we see mountain peaks 
running back from a few rods to one or two miles. Along the 
road we pass numerous banana and plantain and cocoanut 
groves, out of which the owners make a good deal of money, 
and would make a good deal more if they took the least care 
or cultivation of the ground, but they will not do so, their manner 
of doing is to cut down the timber, let it lay till it dries, then burn 
it, then set out small shoots about 15 inches apart, then they are 
not touched till the fruit is ready to be cut down, which is 7 to 9 
months according to the season. The fruit reproduces itself in 
the way of shoots like suckers on corn, and one stock will only 
produce one bunch, it is then cut down and one or more shoots 
takes its place, and that operation is repeated from year to year 
as long as the land will bear it, which is from five to fifteen years, 
according to the quality of the land. The land is then allowed 


to grow up again and another place is cleared and the same opera- 
tion is again gone through with. 

Our passengers comprised all shades, the majority being 
white with several women who had been down to do their shopping, 
and to sell their fruit. They seem to buy bright enough things 
which are even gaudy and showed well regardless as to whether 
it became them or not. They nearly, if not all smoked all the way 
up. Among the passengers was one of the mail carriers. This 
man starts from San Pedro for Tegusalpa, the capital, a distance 
of some two hundred miles. This distance he makes on foot 
in five days, carrying a mail bag of not less than twenty-five 
pounds on his back with a strap across his forehead. For this 
service he receives $7.50 each way or $15.00 for the round trip 
out of which he must board and clothe himself. His name is 
Demadrio Cantirito, he has been in the service for six years. 

In addition to seeing the magnificent tropical foliage, which is 
the grandest sight that man can see, we have seen mahogany 
used as railroad ties as well as for fuel for the locomotive, and by 
the natives in building their huts. 

We arrived at San Pedro at 5 105 p. m. being eight and a half 
hours coming thirty-six miles, and we were told that this was 
remarkably good time. San Pedro is the nicest looking place we 
have yet seen. It is in a mountain valley, has pure springwater 
flowing in ditches through its streets. It has a population of 
about 3,000 among them being a number of Americans. Here 
are large stores and a saw mill, Dr. Mitchell tells me that $300,000 
would not cover Martin Cabus' stock of goods which he carries 
in various departments. We left San Pedro at 4:30 p. m. with 
five mules, one burro and pack mule and Isadora Bardallas as 
guide to Santa Barbara. 

We forded the Chimilian River some seven miles south of 
San Pedro at sundown, then continued riding until 10 p. m. 
when we stopped at an Indian pueblo or village called Via Nieva 
twentv-four miles from San Pedro. Here we went into an adobe 


house, hung up our hammocks with Messrs. Schupp, Perry and 
myself as well as our guide and the man and woman of the house 
all sleeping in the same room. We arose at 5 130, bought some 
eggs, cooked them, had some coffee and started at 7 a. m. The 
first three or four miles the country was level and heavily tim- 
bered, the same as it was last night, then we began to ascend 
mountain ranges and at 9 130 we overtook a pack mule train near 
the top of one of the ranges. We continued to ascend and descend 
mountains till 11:15 when we came to a valley where we found 
water, here we camped for dinner and rested till 2 p. m. We 
started on our journey again, and when we got to the top of the 
mountain we found them heavily timbered with pine, while 
there was good grazing all the way with plenty of water for stock. 
The level and valleys are timbered with mahogany, rosewood, 
satinwood, royal palms and other tropical trees and vegetation. 
This forenoon we saw some very beautiful plumed birds, and one 
mountain cat crossed our trail about 300 feet in front of us. We 
met several pack mules going to the coast loaded with all sorts 
of tropical fruits. 

The scenery is indescribably grand, but some of our ascents 
and descents remind one of going up and down stairs. 

We next swam the Uola River, our baggage was taken over 
on a canoe, the river is very deep and swift but after we got over 
we all took a good swim. On one of the mountain tops we were 
above the clouds, and passed through a cloud about noon, at 2 145 
we passed the Catholic Mission of Achinas, this is one of the mis- 
sions built three hundred years ago. Later we came to a pretty 
little town, Leamie, which was the cleanest native place we had 
yet seen. The place also contained one of the churches built at 
the time of the Conquest, but it is in ruins, having been shattered 
so as to be unsafe, the dome entirely fallen, all caused by an 
earthquake, some 20 years ago, no one seems to know exactly 
how long, as they are not clear as to years and not one in ten can 
tell you their age or the time of day by the clock. We next came 


to a town called Wallalla. Here we met Carlos Vintry who 
could speak English and who agreed to go on to Santa Barbara 
with us, we took supper and breakfast with him and swung our 
hammocks in the public house, built to shelter travelers, and when 
' it is not used for that purpose should judge the cows take shelter 
there. At Wallalla they have another of the old churches, built 
over 300 years ago. It is built of solid masonry with dome, 
towers, buttresses, etc., ornamental carvings and stucco work. 
It is in excellent state of preservation, and is still used to hold 
religious ser\-ices in. Inside it has some images, crucifixion, 
fount and pulpit, but no pews ; the people kneeling or sitting on 
the hard flags during service. The population of this place is 
561. Leaving here, we arrived at Santa Barbara at 12. On 
our way between Santa Barbara and San Pedro, we saw many 
interesting things, we have met many men and women carrying 
large and apparently heavy loads on their backs. The men are 
generally dressed in only a pair of cotton pants, some wear a 
shirt, and the women wear cotton dresses without sleeves, all are 
barefoot and wear straw hats. 

Santa Barbara is one of the old Spanish Mission towns, it is 
the capital of Santa Barbara, the Governor and all the Depart- 
ment officers reside here. The church is a sort of cathedral 
church for this department. The town like all this Spanish- 
American country, has narrow and crooked streets, low dirty 
houses one story high. There is not a window with sash and glass 
in the town. At present the place is full of soldiers without 
uniforms or any apparent system, they are all barefooted and have 
old, poor arms to carry. 

I find that there is a college in this town where they teach 
English as one of the branches. 

We spent Sunday in Santa Barbara. We visited the cemetery 
which is very badly kept and has very few graves. We then 
went to the water power where there was formerly a saw mill, 
but that is only a ruin as there was not energy enough to keep it 


up. This evening we saw a most beautiful sight. East of town 
is a very high mountain, part of a cloud covering the peak, rose, 
the sun shone on the green peak between the clouds, lea\dng 
part of the clouds above and part below the peak, making a sight 
worth going a long way to see. 

We also had the pleasure of witnessing a review of troops, 
stationed here, about 400 in number they passed in review before 
the Governor-General. After passing they formed in a hollow 
square, went through the manual of arms and saluted the flag as 
it was being hauled down in front of headquarters. I have seen 
a great many reviews but this one beats them all. 

The principal dress of the officers is a sword; all wear, as do 
the soldiers, light cotton shirts and pants, are barefooted and 
wear straw hats. No one attempted to keep step. There were 
several drums and bugles making as much noise as possible. 

We left here for Tegusagalpa, we sent Isadora back to San 
Pedro with "Samanthy" my mule, but we kept Carlos to act as 
guide and interpreter at $2 per day, he had to furnish his own 
mule and I had Isadora's which was better than "Samanthy." 
Carlos speaks English, Spanish, German and French, having 
been born on the island of St. Tomas and educated in Europe. 

We spent Monday night in camp on the banks of the Maisgual, 
our next stop was Pueblo of Sahcappa, where the Alcalde showed 
his little authority and we had to show our passports for the first 
time. Next we came to the village of San Jose, but traveled on 
till we came to a creek where we spent the night. This evening 
we had our first anxiety since starting. Mr. Schupp started on 
ahead and we were detained over an hour because of our pack 
mule, we not understanding loading, in the meantime Mr. Schupp 
went on and we became uneasy in not overtaking him, Mr. Perry 
then went on and waited for us at San Jose, not having found 
Mr. Schupp. Carlos then made inquiries and found that he 
had gone on ahead with a moro to the next town. We sent a 
native on with a note asking our friend to come back, which he 


did, he in the meantime worrying for fear we had lost the road. 
Our troubles multiply; two of the mules strayed away and it took 
several hours to find them. When we were about to start, as we 
were passing a native Pueblo, the Alcalde came out and served 
a notice on Carlos, claiming a man in San Jose owned the animal 
Carlos rode, that it had been stolen. Carlos assured him that he 
had a bill of sale at home, but no argument prevailed and the 
result was, that Carlos had to return to San Jose. In the mean- 
time, Messrs. Schupp and Perry rode on while I stayed to see if 
Carlos could not be helped. This left us without either guide or 
interpreter. Of course I lost track of my companions, but con- 
tinued on my way as I discovered I was on the right road and 
they must have gotten off of it. I went on and stopped at Pueblo 
of Siguatepeque at 5:30 without seeing my friend. At 8:30 they 
appeared, having lost the trail, but in the meantime Mr. Schupp 
got a very badly sprained ankle. We stopped at a house where the 
people are white and they got us a good meal. Next morning the 
sprain was in a bad condition, but he insisted in going on and, 
about the time we were ready, Carlos rode in; he had lost his 
animal at San Jose, the other man proving the ownership, so 
Carlos got a small mule to finish the journey with. 

This morning we only passed over one mountain the rest of 
the way being undulating pine openings, but in the afternoon we 
ascended the longest and steepest mountain we have yet seen, but 
at the bottom on the other side, we found the bed of an old stream 
which we followed till we came to a native hut, we then crossed 
the River Chicito, which flows into the Pacific. We arrived at 
1 1 130 p. M. at Commayagua, formerly the capital of Honduras, 
a city of 20,000 inhabitants. Some years ago the city was badly 
damaged in a battle which was fought by rival candidates for the 
presidency, and President Sota, who gained the day, moved the 
capital to Tegusagalpa. Commayagua, now has a population 
of about 5,000, it is the capital of the Department of the same 
name. There is a very fine church here and in it we saw the first 


window glass since leaving San Pedro. They have a very good 
Cabella or Court House, the upper floor is used for officers and 
the lower floor is the market. Here you can find men, women 
and children sitting, squatting and standing, selling all kinds of 
native and imported articles. 

We left here for San Antonia, twelve miles away, where we 
spent the night. We camped at the side of a brook in the spur of 
the mountains, then on up and down mountains till we arrived 
at the village of Protection; we left the mules outside the city as 
we did not dare take them in for fear we could not get food for 
them. We stopped in the House of Conception Carrios, whose 
daughter teaches school in the room where we swung our ham- 
mocks. I asked for some soap and was informed that they had 
none but would send to the neighbors and try to get me some, but 
none could be found. Wonder how they do their Monday's 
washing? We left here, arriving in Tegucegalpa at 9:30 A. m., 
where we found exceedingly comfortable quarters. We were 
served the first real meal we had since leaving the coast. 

We are now at the capital of Honduras, having arrived this 
morning after a journey of one hundred and seventy-five miles 
on mule-back. The country between here and Santa Barbara is 
nearly all mountainous, with deep gorges, and here and there a 
valley and plateau — all good grazing lands, with mineral deposits 
cropping out in all directions. This is an old town. It contains 
from twelve to fifteen thousand inhabitants. In the Plaza is 
bronze statue on a marble pedestal of Francisco Morazan, the 
great Central American liberator — the only man who ever suc- 
ceeded in keeping the now five republics in a confederation of 
states something like our states. After his death they got to 
quarrelling and the result is five weak republics instead of one 

strong one. 

The Plaza 

here is a beautiful flower garden. Facing it on one side stands 
the Cathedral, a very old and handsome building. The date of 


its original erection I have not been able to ascertain. It was 

rebuilt (so the inscription says on the altar) in 1834. It is by all 

odds the finest building we have seen in Honduras. There are 

several other old churches here — all Catholic — and a few good 

buildings, several of which have glass windows in them. They 

have a public market house and it is worth going a long way to 

see. There you may buy almost anything you want, imported 

or domestic. Men, women, boys and girls stand, sit and squat 

here, offering their goods for sale. It reminds one of the oriental 

bazars. If you went to sleep in Constantinople and awoke here 

you would hardly note the difference. It is wonderful what a 

variety the people have managed to get in here, when you come 

to think that everything not raised here has been imported on the 

backs of mules. 

Their Schools 

are well advanced. They have a very good national college, in 
which English is taught as one of the branches, so that American 
travelers who come here a few years hence vnll find no difficulty 
in securing interpreters. The city is situated seemingly in the 
crater of an extinct volcano. You see every indication that at 
come remote period the whole country was a vast volcano. 

The people here are in one respect just the reverse of ours — 
they never hurr\\ They take their time on all occasions. One 
of their principal expressions is, Moniana, Senor (To-morrow, Mr.) 
If you want anything or want anyone to do something for you, 
the answer is almost invariably, "Moniana, Senor." Their 
motto is: "Never do to-day what can be put off till to-morrow." 
If you tell one of them to get feed ready for your mules at night 
ready for feeding early in the morning, the answer may be, 
"Si, Senor (Yes, Sir), but unless you watch him and get after 
him again, you will not get it. If you tell him to have your mules 
ready at six in the morning he will say, "Si, Senor." Unless you 
punch him up you are lucky if you get them by nine and so on 
through the calendar. 


Recipes and Styles 

I can also give you a new recipe for your laundry work. In- 
stead of doing as you do, they have a much more simple way. 
A woman takes her washing to some stream, wades in to her 
knees, finds some convenient stone, rubs the clothes on it till she 
rubs holes in them, souses them in the water, hangs them on the 
bank till they are dry, takes them home again and the whole 
trouble is over. 

The women only wear a colored skirt and one garment without 
sleeves, cut low in the neck, and the men, principally a pair of 
cotton pants with once in a while, a cotton shirt. 

Since writing the above we have called on His Excellency, 
President Louis Bograu, a man of fine talents and commanding 
presence, a man who would be selected in any assembly, in any 
country. He is young, less than forty years, and is now serving 
his first term — and if what we hear of him is half true, he will be 
in power as long as he wishes to be. He treated us in the most 
cordial manner and gave us a great deal of valuable information 
and advice such as we could not obtain elsewhere. I don't 
know as I ever met a man who impressed me more favorably. 

Our business is now completed and we leave here on the 
morning of the i8th, for home. You will not get this till about 
March 12th. 

We also visited the church of Doloros, on the front of which 
are various emblems; viz., Jacob's Ladder, Sacred Heart, Open 
Hand and others. We also visited another church, on the cross 
in front it stated it was erected in 1783. Upon our return to the 
House we had a call from Don Jose Alvarada, the son of the 
Minister of Justice, he is reading law and will go to the United 
States next year to study medicine. 

From here we started on our return journey, over the route 
we came. After reaching the coast we boarded the steamer and 
went to Amoa, where we saw the old fort built by King Philipps, 
it is one of the oldest, if nol the oldest fort in America. It is about 

The Fargo Freak — Will Wonders Never Cease? 




600 feet long, 240 feet at one end and 360 feet at the other end, 
made in angles. The walls are 30 feet high, 30 feet thick, made 
of rock on the inside and faced w'ith concrete blocks on the outside. 
The side next to the Bay shows numerous old scars, the effects 
of cannon balls. It does not look as though it had any repairs 
since it was built. It is used, in addition as a garrison, for holding 
political prisoners, one wing being built for that purpose, which 
is like a dungeon, no ventilation and the only light is what creeps 
through a low grating over the door, the water dripping in con- 
stantly. In this foul place men have been kept, one man now 
living in Belize, having been there ten years. If the history of 
this fort could be written it would make your blood run cold to read 
it. We were not permitted to go inside, for reasons of their own, 
perhaps they were worried we would carry some old shells away 
\\ith us. It has a sentinel tower with one cannon on its rampart, 
with seven large guns lying on the ground at the foot of the wall 
next to the sea, they are marked "1776" and no doubt were big 
guns in their day. Some years ago the British and American Con- 
suls were imprisoned in this fort, a British man-of-war came along 
and gave them a broadside which scared the garrison out, and 
when they recovered their senses, they were compelled, by the 
man-of-war, to turn the guns down and forbade them remounting 
them again, release the two Consuls, salute the British and Amer- 
ican flags and pay 850,000 to the British Consul for ha\dng im- 
prisoned him. They tell a stor}' about the fort as follows : When 
one of King Philipp's officers returned to Spain, the king took 
a spy-glass and invited him to go with him to one of the Palace 
towns, took out the glass and looked a long time, and finally said, 
"I don't see it." The officer asked the king what he was looking 
for and the king replied, "I was looking for Fort Amoa, it has 
cost so much money that it should be so high and plated with gold, 
that the reflection of its splendor should be reflected here." It 
is said if the cost of the fort was in silver dollars laid side by 
side that they would reach from here to Spain. From here we 


went to Belize where we dined with His Excellency, Governor 
Goldworthy, we were royally entertained, and enjoyed ourselves 
so thoroughly that we almost missed our steamer. When we 
left Government House we got a boat to go to the ship, but it 
had already weighed anchor and had started for the United States, 
the Captain supposing we were on the ship. When he saw our 
signals he stopped the vessel and laid to till we reached her. Our 
next stop was at San Miguel, Mexico, where we saw the ruins of 
the first church built by Cortez after the conquest and in which 
it is said he was married. It is about a quarter of a mile from 
the village. It is in complete ruins about lo feet of the walls are 
still standing. From these ruins where everything is overgrown 
with trees and brush, I procured two rosewood and two ebony 
canes. The church yard contains about forty acres and is 
enclosed by a stone wall and the ground is covered with almond, 
sepota, mangrove, cocoa and other tropical fruit trees, all growing 
in the greatest profusion. Inside the church ruins are several 
old tombs, some of them still sealed and remains in them, while 
some have been opened and the remains removed. Two had been 
opened quite recently, although I could not ascertain when. The 
remains of the coffins were still to be seen. Inside of the walls 
stands a cocoa tree and a native boy ran up like a squirrel and 
cut down some cocoanuts for us to eat. The shore is strewn 
with coral of all sizes and shapes as well as with various kinds 
of sea shells, of which the conch predominates. 

Colonel Francisco Becarra, the Commandante, presented me 
with two of the finest shells in his collection to be taken home 
to my wife. 

Cozumel is thirty-five miles long and from ten to fifteen wide ; 
has only 900 population. The land is nearly all Government 
land and can be had by paying for surveying fees and doing a 
certain amount of improvement on it. You can raise anything 
you may plant there, from potatoes up. From here we left for 
New Orleans and home. 



This, my second trip to the West Indies, is a combination of 
business and pleasure, as your editor is aware, but at his request 
I promised to write an article for the paper, but will have to make 
it short. 

I left Fargo Sept. 25th, going to St. Paul, then on to Duluth 
where I at first intended to go on by boat, but other matters of 
business coming up decided me to go by rail. I took the Duluth, 
South Shore and Atlantic to Sault Sainte Marie where I changed 
to the Canadian Pacific, passing through some of the poorest, 
country I have ever seen, the land consisting of sand barriers 
and swamps principally. We had passed through some fine 
mineral ranges in Northern Michigan, in and about Mar- 

After reaching Pembrook, Canada, the land changed for the 
better along the Ottawa River. The city of Ottawa is a place of 
about 40,000 people and contains some fine buildings, both public 
and private. The finest view you can get of Ottawa is after 
crossing the Ottawa River, you can then see the Government 
buildings especially well. The next place I stopped was in 
Montreal, and to my opinion one of the most beautiful cities in 
Canada, built so many, many years ago, everything so different 
from the States, makes one think they are thousands of miles from 
the States while it is but a few hours ride, from the city of New 
York. Montreal, with its many handsome buildings, both 
public and private, before leaving the city I went up on Mount 
Royal, which commands such a splendid view of the city and the 
noted St. Lawrence River. Among other places visited in the 
city was the beautiful Cathedral of Notre Dame, an imposing 
edifice occupying two city blocks, which must be seen to be appre- 
ciated as it is as impossible to describe this as it is to describe the 
Niagara. The exterior of the building is immense, with its great 
doors always ready to open at a touch its magnificent windows. 


But the interior, its paintings, its fresco, balcony, choir — and 
its altar — one of the largest and handsomest. 

I left Montreal for New York via the New York Central and 
Hudson River Ry., and in the early morning when I awoke 
the scenery I saw repaid me for that part of the trip. After 
attending to business in New York I found I would have to go 
on to Washington and Baltimore but hurried back from these 
cities as fast as possible and boarded the steamer at New York 
that noon, and that afternoon we left for the Islands, the pilot 
leaving us off Sandy Hook at 3 :40. That night the weather 
was very bad and the next morning a waterspout passed within 
seeing distance of the steamer, toward evening it calmed down 
somewhat, and the ship quit rolling so much. A large number 
of passengers failed to appear at the table, that did not include 
myself as I was pretty well seasoned to sea life. 

We saw numerous flying-fish but it was so cloudy that observa- 
tions could be taken only by dead reckoning. 

The following morning the sun rose bright and clear and the 
Chief steward rapped at my state-room door and announced 
that we were in sight of Porto Rico; that island and Cuba is all 
that Spain has left now of the vast American possessions she 
controlled one hundred years ago to-day, and it is my humble 
opinion that it is an outrage that she owns them. European 
nations should not own a foot of land on either of the American 
continents. I shall make very short stays on the Islands. Porto 
Rico seems about all mountains, none very high, the highest being 
3,600 feet above sea level, compared to our mountains these seem 
not much more than foot hills, although so many in such a com- 
paratively small space makes them seem higher than they really 
are. The principal staples are sugar and coffee of which I shall 
take back some; you also see many tobacco plantations where 
they raise as good tobacco as in Havana. Ponce, a city of about 
38,000 people, is about three miles back from the coast. This 
city contains some fine buildings both public and private, they 


have ever}'thing quite modern, such as gas, electric lighting, sewer 
and water systems; this city also has an Episcopal Church 
for the English inhabitants, of which there are many. This 
Island was discovered by Columbus in 1493, ^^'-^ ^^ i5io> Ponce 
de Leon founded another city, Puerto Viego (which means "old 
port"), and later founded San Juan Bautista, meaning Saint 
John the Baptist. 

It is estimated that at the time of the discovery by the Spanish, 
that Porto Rico contained 6,000 people, but in a few decades they 
had entirely disappeared. Prior to 1873, slavery was permitted 
on the Island but at that time it was abolished by an order of 
the "Cortez of Spain" making all free. The climate of Porto 
Rico cannot be excelled, and every variety of tropical plants and 
palms flourish in abundance. The natives are very similar to 
those of all these tropical countries — something like a circus, if 
you have seen one you have seen them all. When I leave this 
harbor I will run over and spend a few hours on the Island of 
Hayti, then stop at San Domingo b ef ore retracing my trip to go 
on to Curacao. 

Hayti and San Domingo I will not write of at this time, b ut 
will do so later when I can give the letter the time that it deserves 
in the descriptions of these Islands. 


I am now at Curacao in the Dutch West Indies, the right 
name is Wilhelmstadt, in honor of the King of the Indies, but few 
people know it by any other name than Curacao. It is a place of 
about 30,000 people, mostly Hollanders and Curacao negroes, 
though you will find people from nearly every country in the world 
there, and can see the customs of all nations on a miniature scale; 
it depends entirely on commerce for its existence. The island is 
very barren, three years having been known without any rain 
to speak of, to amount to anything. 


It is the pathway of steamers plying between the United 
States and France, England, Holland as well as other countries, 
and all steamers touch and some unload their cargoes here, trans- 
ferring them to smaller vessels ; while some go direct to the South 
American countries. Nine of the large steamers go to the small 
ports either in Venezuela or the United States of Columbia; 
they confine themselves to ports like Porto Cabello, La Guayra, 
Cartagenia, etc., while for ports like Marracaibo, Curo, Madera, 
etc., they use the small transfer steamers referred to; one reason 
for this transfer is there are bars at the mouths of the harbors that 
prevent the larger class of steamers from entering. 

It is a quaint city and those who make their first visit to the 
tropics will be surprised at the change between it and the United 
States, and what they will see there, everything being different. 
To stop and tell you all or any of the peculiarities would take longer 
time than can be spared here. The harbor itself is one of nature's 
curiosities. You enter between two forts, through a space not 
much broader than the width of your vessel, steam up through 
the harbor, where it widens a little, and the largest steamers can 
tie up to the wharves, the harbor being almost bottomless. 

Looking up the harbor you see a bluff, or almost a mountain, 
that shuts out the view, but if you continue up the harbor you will 
see that there is an opening in the bluff, with water of sufficient 
depth and width to admit of the largest men-of-war. This pas- 
sage is about one fourth of a mile in length. 

You enter the inner harbor, or lagoon, as it is called, and 
find it is about one mile across and from two to three miles en- 
closed on all sides. It was in this lagoon where Captain Kidd 
and his associates, when hard pressed by men-of-war, would 
disappear from view and hence he was called "the wizzard" of 
the sea; he was supposed to be in league with the evil one who 
permitted him to disappear when hard pressed and to reappear 
again when a victim in the way of a rich merchantman, hove in 


By the courtesy of Captain E. B. Smith, Consul for the United 
States in Curacao, I took a ride with him and his family in his 
yacht, and among the other places of interest we visited, was the 
inner harbor. We saw riding at anchor, one of the largest men- 
of-war of the Dutch Navy, the Wilhelm Johan Fraisar, the flagship 
of Admiral Droonman, commandant of the Dutch India Squadron; 
we went on board and were handsomely entertained by the 
Admiral and his officers. After spending some time on the vessel 
we again boarded Captain Smith's yacht and returned to Curacao, 
where I spent some time transacting the business which called 
me here. 

The city of Curacao is divided into two parts by the narrow 
harbor I have referred to (that you go into as you leave the sea). 
All of the streets are quite narrow, at least they seem so to one 
just from our wide beautiful streets in the States. The port of 
Curacao being free or nearly so, so that most of the smuggling 
that is done to the South and Central America States has its 
headquarters at this port. I had almost forgotten to tell you one 
thing which impressed me was, as to the oddity of the looks of 
the city from the distance — the houses without any chimneys 
and all painted yellow with cream-colored trimmings, but when 
you come to the city this peculiarity seems not to be noticed. 
One thing I will say, is that the streets are kept clean and every- 
thing is in ship-shape order. 

I left Curacao on the steamer "Philadelphia" for La Guaira, 
the end of my sea voyage until my return. 


[Parts of letters to the Pioneer Press, St Paul.] 

While the South American states were among the first settled 
after Columbus discovered America, very little is known either 
in the United States or Europe about the climate or resources. 

Business having called me to South America, I will, at the 


request of your editor try to tell you of some of the things I saw 
and learned on this trip. ^^ 

On May loth, I left New York, Pier No. 36, East River, on 
the iron steamship, Venezuela. It is needless to tell you of all 
that happened on the ship, only to say that part of the time, 
especially passing through Cape Hatteras and the Gulf Stream, 
it was quite rough and a good many of the passengers remained 
in their cabins for the first few days. I learned something about 
the Gulf Stream I did not know before, although I had crossed 
it often; the excutive officer informed me that they test the 
temperature of the water at stated intervals, and that he had 
seen the temperature twenty-three degrees warmer at the bow 
than at the stern at the same moment while crossing the 
stream. That shows how well defined are the walls of this 
stream, and accounts for the mild climate where its influence 
is felt. 

The first land we saw after leaving the States was a view of 
Hayti and San Domingo on our right and Porto Rico on our 
left. We made but short stops at these Islands but as I had 
visited them before they were not so interesting as they would 
have been otherwise. After landing passengers and cargo the 
steamer proceeded on to South America. 

On the morning of May 19th, we were tied up at the wharf at 
Puerto Cabello, Venezuela, and as soon as the custom and health 
officers had made their inspections, I went on shore. Puerto 
Cabello has one of the finest natural harbors in the world being 
almost entirely land-locked and of sufficient size for a port like 
New York or Philadelphia. The first thing that attracts your 
attention as you enter the harbor is the light house, and a very 
good one it is, yellow and red flashes can be seen a long way out 
at sea. 

But the most interesting sight is the old fort built by the 
Spaniards but now used as a prison ; this fort was captured from 
the Spaniards — so I was told — in a peculiar manner. One 


dark night during the Venezuelan War for Independence, General 
Bolivar came down from the interior one night and swam his 
troops across from the Island to where the fort stands, about 500 
yards, and surprised the garrison. The first intimation the 
Spanish officer had of Bolivar's presence was, that he and his 
entire command were prisoners. It is said that Bolivar did not 
lose a man in swimming them across, although the harbor is 
full of man eating sharks, and there is not a man who could swim 
across without the escort of a boat without being bit, and that 
he took the fort without firing a gun. 

The morning of our arrival at Puerto Cabello I took the cars 
for Valencia, the capital of the state of Carabobo, a place of about 
30,000; it has many fine parks and public and private buildings. 
In Plaza Bolivar is a marble monolith said to be the finest to be 
found in either Americas; it is surmounted by a bronze statue of 
General Bolivar and was erected to commemorate the great victory 
obtained over the Spanish; it was in sight of this place that they 
made their last stand and met such a defeat that they never 
again rallied on American soil. 

The city is lighted by electricity and has a fine telephone 
exchange, these are controlled by Americans. It has water 
works, a system of sewers, and several very nice manufacturing 
establishments — the principal being a cotton factory that employs 
several hundred hands. My next stop was 


National capital of the United States of Venezuela. Popula- 
tion between 80,000 and 100,000. Seven miles across moun- 
tains to La Guaira, and 22 miles by rail. It is situated in a fertile 
valley about five miles wide and twenty miles long. The climate 
is the finest that could be desired, being so high up the air is pure 
and free from all fever or malaria as well as all extremes of either 
heat or cold. The average temperature there is about 72 degrees 
Fahrenheit; the thermometer seldom goes beyond 85 or below 60. 


In over three years it has not been known to go over loo degrees 
but once and has never got down to even a white frost. The 
most delicate plant or fruit can and does grow out of doors free 
from any artificial protection from the cold. 

The city is about 3,600 feet above sea level. In the valley 
surrounding it, are extensive sugar and coffee plantations. 

It is difficult to obtain a good room in a hotel in Caracas when 
you arrive there, at least that was my experience while there, and 
of others who came at the same time. As for renting a comfort- 
able house, it is simply out of the question except to wait for some 
one to move out or have a house built. 

The city has, in addition to the Capital building and Executive 
Mansion or "Yellow House," the National University, several 
colleges for both boys and girls. Public Schools, Academy of 
Arts and Sciences, Naval and Military schools, Polotecnic, and 
School of Telegraphy, Military and Civil hospitals. 

Has system of water works and street cars, on the latter they 
charge the same as we do, five cent fare. Two fine and commodi- 
ous markets, two theatres, one especially elegant. Masonic Temple 
and Commercial Club. 

The National University, which ranks among the best in the 
world, a diploma from which is the same as one from Yale or 
Harvard here. 

It has many fine parks and plazas, beautifully laid out, every 
variety of tropical trees and plants growing in them. In each 
plaza, is a statue in bronze of some prominent Venezuelian, except 
in Washington Plaza, where is the statue of Washington. 

The streets arc laid out at right angles, and the houses are 
numbered, which is out of the ordinary in the South American 
cities. The streets are well paved and have either cement or flag 
side walks on each side. 

Among the industries are the Government Mint, tanneries, 
sugar refineries, foundries and machine shops, wagon, cart 
and carriage shops, the latter also turn out coaches, coupes. 


Victorias, etc., cabinet and carpentry shops. Tile and brick 
yards, blacksmiths, shoemakers, tailors, etc., and paper mills. 

One railroad connects Caracas with La Guaira, and two are 
now building to connect this city with Victoria and Valencia. 
There are wagon roads in all directions. 

In the National Capital building, are life-sized paintings of 
all the men who have made their marks in Venezuela. In the 
dome of the building is a panoramic painting of the battle of 
Maricabo, where the Spaniards made their last stand and were 
defeated by the Venezuelians, assisted by some Americans and 
English, under Simon Bolivar. The painting begins with the 
scene in front of Plaza Bolivar where the students from the 
National University compelled the Spanish Vice-Roy to surrender 
his insignia of ofhce and ends with the disastrous defeat of the 
Spaniards near Valencia. This painting shows the prominent 
generals and officers who participated in the struggle and drove 
the Spanish power from Venezuela. One in particular will attract 
one's attention; he is fair-haired, blue-eyed and full light beard; 
he was the Sheridan of the Venezuelian cavalry with this difference, 
neither he or his men asked or gave quarter; with him it was a 
war of extermination as far as the Spaniards were concerned. 
I refer to General Falcon. In the District of Federal building 
is a very handsome painting of the signing of the Venezuelian 
Independence. In the front of the painting stands an officer in 
full regimentals looking with stern eye and making mental note 
of anyone who hesitates in walking up to the Secretary's desk 
and affixing his signature to the paper, severing their connection 
with Spain and making Venezuela a free and independent nation. 
The officer referred to, I was told, was General Simon Bolivar. 
This painting is equal to, if not superior, to any work of art in 
that line to be found in the Capitol at Washington. 

The National Museum is located in the University building, 
here are relics of the great men of Venezuela, as well as national 
curiosities. Here you find the Bolivar sword and medals encrusted 


with diamonds. They were presented to Bolivar by the Republic, 
and later purchased by the Government from the heirs. 

In the Panteon Nacional, are entered some one hundred and 
fifty Venezuelian generals and statesmen, including some for- 
eigners who fell in behalf of the Venezuelian cause. 

The commercial interests of Caracas are immense. It is the 
distributing point and supply depot for not far from 1,000,000 
people, including the city itself. The stocks of goods in all lines 
carried here are astonishing. Stocks running into the millions of 
dollars are not infrequent, and the trade is constantly increasing 
in volume. 

The people are very hospitable and do everything they can 
to make a stranger feel at home. They invite and entertain you 
in a royal manner in their fine mansions. But in commercial 
transactions they are as sharp as any Yankee can be, and are as 
fond of the almighty dollar as are any people in the world. 

In Plaza Bolivar, the National band of fifty pieces give open 
air concerts every Thursday and Sunday evenings, between 
eight and ten. There you see the elite of the city to the best 
advantage. Ladies in the latest Parisian fashions and gentlemen 
in full dress suits, promenading and enjoying the delightful even- 
ings out of doors. 

While the Caracians are very hospitable, they are very par- 
ticular as to whom they invite to their homes. No one who is 
not properly introduced will be invited to any private house or 
gathering. When once invited to a man's house you can call 
there any time as long as your standing in society is good. This, 
of course, does not include the peon or laboring classes. 

Caracas is the cradle of liberty of South America. It was here 
the first blow was struck and the first blood was spilled that drove 
the Spanish crown from the American continent. It was here 
that the University students headed by Manuel Maria Urbanza, 
met the Spanish Vice-Roy coming out of his palace and then 
and there compelled him to surrender his insignia. This is the 


birthplace of many of the men who have made themselves dear 
to the hearts of every lover of liberty. Among and in fact, the 
leading name, is that of General Simon Bolivar, and his compatri- 
ots of a greater or less degree are Generals Paez, Falcon, Suarez, 
Guzman, Monango, and others. Both Boliver and Urbana 
were natives of Caracas and the houses they were born in are 
pointed out to strangers as sacred relics. From Caracas, the 
revolt against Spain spread to the other parts of South America, 
Central and North iVmerica, until the Spanish power was anni- 
hilated, never to be re-estabUshed on American soil, and all was 
accomplished in about four years by weak and struggling colonies 
against, at that time, one of the most powerful nations in the 
world. It had been the policy of Spain, as it now is in Cuba, to 
wring the life blood out of the American possessions. Keeping 
the spirit of manhood and independence down, by a large standing 
army, which they made the colonies pay for maintaining to keep 
them in subjection. The Americans subject to Great Britain, 
had ample cause to resist the British Crown, but they had not one- 
tenth what the Spanish Colonies had to endure from their oppres- 
sors. The strange part of it is, that it was not the natives who 
resisted the Spanish power, but the pure Spaniards or their direct 
descendants, who had come here as they had gone to North 
America to build homes for themselves. That is just the case 
in Cuba to-day, and sooner or later the Cubans will accomplish 
their independence as did the patriots of Venezuela in 1819-24. 

The matter of "revolution" in Venezuela, in fact in all the 
Spanish-American countries, is Uttle understood. It is not by 
force as we understand it, in the use of arms, though in some 
cases arms have been used, but it is votes. The defeat at the 
poles of one political party, and accession to pov/er of the opposi- 
tion to the party in power, they dignify here by the name of 
"revolution." Even local disturbances of a political nature, 
such as the defeat of local candidates who are striving for election, 
is called "revolution." 


The Government of Venezuela is the most stable of any of the 
Governments in South America, and its finances are as sound as 
any in Europe. 

The Government is a repubUc Hke our own; has a congress 
consisting of a Senate and House of Representatives as we have ; 
the President has his cabinet as we have, and about the only 
difference I could see was that the President is elected for two 
years only and cannot serve two consecutive terms, also, that he 
is elected by Congress from its own membership. There is no 
Vice-President. In addition to the Cabinet the President has 
an Executive Council, consisting of two men from each state, 
sixteen men in all, as there are eight states which compose the 
United States of Venezuela. To this Council, all matters of im- 
portance, in the interim when Congress is not in session, are 

On Thursday I had an audience, by appointment, with Presi- 
dent Palacio, and was received most courteously indeed. The 
President is a fine and intelligent gentleman, and if looks go for 
anything, the people of Venezuela have made no mistake in 
electing Dr. Andrigo Palacio, their President. He is fully up 
to the times and desires that his country shall be one of the leading 
nations of the world, as it is now the leading one of South America. 

I also met Nephtale Urdaneto, the Governor of the Federal 
District and one of the President's Cabinet. During my stay in 
Caracas I received many favors from Senor M. Porras E. a per- 
sonal and political friend of the President. Senor Porras is secre- 
tary of the Interior, a lawyer of prominence and the best English 
scholar of Venezuelians in Caracas, if not in Venezuela. He is 
a man of great wealth and influence among his people. Lives 
in a palatial residence like a prince, his servants are all in livery 
and everything is on a grand scale. 

The people of Caracas and in fact of Venezuela, are waking 
up to the fact and begin to realize, that they are in a measure, 
not up to the times, as we and other nations are, and are offering 


every inducement to have foreign capital go in and assist in the 
development of the natural resources of the country. To show 
you how readily they take to modern inventions, I will simply 
tell you that in the city of Caracas to-day there are over 2,000 
telephones in use, and more are ordered than can be supplied, 
so that the American Telephone Company are always behind in 
filling phone orders as fast as they are wanted. 

The streets are lighted by gas but an electric plant is now 
being constructed which will supply the city with both arc and 
incandescent lights, with sufficient capacity to light public build- 
ings and plazas as well as private residences and stores in Caracas, 
but also at La Guaira, Macuto, and Maquetie. The electric 
plant will start with 150 arc and 5,000 incandescent lights. 

The water and sewer system are as perfect as any you will 
find in any city of similar size in the United States. The water 
is conveyed in an open aqueduct for a distance of eighteen miles 
from where it gushes out of the mountain, a pure spring M^ater 
as any you can find in any part of the world, to a reservoir on 
El Cavarie, about 500 feet above the city, from there it is distri- 
buted through pipes and mains to all parts of the city. The 
Government owns the water-works and I was told the rates 
are quite low. The peculiarity of the water there is, that while it 
is warm it is not insipid as water is here of the same temperature, 
but it quenches your thirst and you do not feel the need of ice in 
the water. Ice, by the way, can be had at about three cents per 
pound, being made by artificial means, by machinery imported 
from the United States. The reason the ice is so expensive, is 
that its use is as yet a new thing and very few people had to within 
the past five years, ever seen, much less used ice for any purpose ; 
in fact the majority of the people of Venezuela had never heard of 
or knew the meaning of the word "ice." 

A peculiar feature of the houses of Caracas or in fact of all 
houses in the Spanish-American countries, is the way they are 
b\^\U The house is built flush to the street and most of them 


with their ironbound windows look more like a jail than a resi- 
dence; but when you get inside instead of fulfilling your prison 
idea, you behold an open court or patio, filled with the rarest 
flowers and plants that it is possible for even the tropics to pro- 
duce. The rooms all open on this court, and here the family 
and friends sit to enjoy their rest, smoke their cigarettes, or sip 
their after-dinner coffee of an evening. 

I will mention one custom which prevails there which may 
not strike some of my readers favorably ; if a young man wishes 
to visit a young lady he must do so in the family parlor in the 
presence of the entire family or at least with the father or mother 
being present, or he must stand on the sidewalk while she leans 
in an iron-bound window, on the Romeo and Juliet plan, talking 
to him. If he wishes to take her to the theater he must take some 
member of the family with them; there are no buggy-riding or 
ice-cream tete-a-tetes. In fact a young man and young woman 
are never permitted to be alone together until after the marriage 
ceremony has been performed. A young lady on the streets is 
always accompanied by a servant, sometimes you will see two or 
three together, without a servant, but this is rare indeed. This 
of course does not apply to the peons, only to the better class of 

The transportation question has taken great strides out of 
Caracas in the last six years. Since that time a railroad of 22 
miles has been built between Caracas and La Guaira, it is perhaps 
the most crooked railroad in the world. In fourteen miles it 
rises to an altitude of 4,000 feet above sea level and in that distance 
there is not 500 feet of straight track in any one place. There are 
several places where you wind round innumerable curves for 
from two to four miles and in looking down, you will find you have 
only gained from 100 to 300 feet in actual distance but are several 
hundred feet above or below where you were two or three miles 

The first three miles of the road are nearly straight along the 


shores of the Carribean Sea. In the next fifteen miles, it ascends 
about 4,000 feet and the last five miles it descends about 700 
feet, to the valley Caracas is located in. The road has 
346 curves that are noticeable while riding in the cars. I have 
been informed there are 22,000 rails laid, out of which there were 
18,000 more or less bent. The road belongs to an English com- 
pany and was completed about five years ago with the expectation 
that it would carry all the freight and passenger traffic between 
the Capital and the principal seaport. While at first it was able 
to do so, it cannot begin to do so now. You can daily see hun- 
hundreds of donkeys with loads on their backs and mules hauling 
carts loaded with merchandise, going in both directions, that the 
merchants here and at La Guaira cannot wait for the railroad 
company to transport. The charges for freight and passengers 
are simply terrific. Freight runs from $8 per ton on coal to $20 
per ton on some classes of merchandise and passenger rates are 
$2.50 first class and $1.60 second class, with cars that immigrants 
in the United States would not ride in, in the so-called first class. 

Of the two railroads building between Caracas and Valencia, 
a distance of about no miles, one is being built by English and 
the other with German capitalists. The German road is built 
and running trains for about thirty-six miles. It is called the 
"Great Venezuelian Railway." The English road is called the 
"Central Railroad of Venezuela" and has sixty-five miles com- 
pleted. On Sunday I took a ride on the latter road in company 
with U. S. Minister, Wm. L. Scruggs of Atlanta, Col. T. W. 
Tyrer of Washington, A. B. Cadot of Boston, and E. C. White 
of New York. The road is well built in a substantial manner, 
good track and rolling stock, iron ties, bridges and tressels. 
We passed through a succession of sugar and coffee fields nearly 
the whole distance. 

Railroad matters, telephone and telegraph lines and all con- 
cessions are made by the Government to corporations and individ- 


On June nth, was the one hundredth anniversary of the birth 
of General J. A. Paez, and Caracas celebrated two holidays or 
feast days as they call them here. The city was finely decorated 
with the Venezuelian colors with the flags of all nations in sight. 
The stars and stripes were conspicuous on all sides. At night 
the Plazas were ablaze with pyrotechnical displays, fireworks 
everywhere, while the whole was elegantly illuminated. The 
booming of cannons by day and the sound of fireworks at night 
reminded you of being in the midst of battle and that belief was 
strengthened when you saw on all sides soldiers in uniform march- 
ing and counter-marching, others on duty as sentries in the streets 
and squares. "The Paez Huzzars," a volunteer organization 
of the first young men of Caracas, made a fine display in their 
scarlet uniforms with white trimmings, patent leather boots, 
prancing horses and shining lances. Both in drill and appearance 
they were superior to the regular soldiers. I fortunately had 
every opportunity of seeing and enjoying all this as the guest of 
the Secretary of the Interior. 

There is something curious in celebrating the birth of General 
Paez. He was one of General Bolivar's lieutenants, being pro- 
moted from time to time by that great liberator, until Paez sup- 
planted Boliver, drove him out of the country into Colombia, 
where he died in poverty, while Paez assumed power that he car- 
ried with a high hand, until he in turn was driven from the country 
by General Falcon. Paez went to New York where he died, 
and his remains were removed to Caracas in 1888 and now rest 
in the Panteon Nacional. 

General Falcon was supplanted by Guzman Blanco, and he 
also was compelled to leave the country, although later he re- 
turned. His bones also rest in the same building that those of 
Generals Bolivar, Paez and other heroes do. 

From Caracas I went for a few days to La Guaira. The 
seaport of La Guaira is a place of about 8,000 people, is built at 
the foot of mountains rising two miles in height in some place. 


It is exceedingly warm there at times, the sun between 11 A. M. 
and 2 p. M. in the narrow streets is unbearable. The harbor, 
until the past few years, was a very hard and dangerous one. 
Being only a small indentation in the shore, with the swell of the 
Carribean Sea beating in there constantly. An English syndi- 
cate known as the "Break-water Company," constructed a 
substantial break-water or sea wall, behind which ships in a limited 
number can ride with safety and comfort and receive and dis- 
charge their cargo. Before the "Break-water" was built, it was 
very hard and at times dangerous for passengers to go on board 
or leave the ships. The swell of the sea making the boats rise 
and fall at various heights, according to the height of the waves, 
and passengers had to take their chances in jumping from the 
ladder into the boat and missing or falling overboard in doing so 
was not infrequent, more especially with ladies. 

La Guaira as a port of shipment is the most important in 
Venezuela. At this port one half the customs duties of the nation 
are collected, and through it half of all the exports and imports 
go, through it half the population of the nation buy their foreign 
goods and sell their coffee, hides, chocolates, etc. 

The town and harbor are guarded by an old Spanish fort 
perched on the side of a mountain overlooking the town and 
harbor. Twenty-four heavy Krupp cannons have, at a great 
cost, been hauled up there. A small garrison of soldiers only 
stay in it to keep and take care of it. From here, accompanied by 
Col. Tyrer and ^Messrs. Cabot and White, I went to Macuto, the 
"Long Branch" of Venezuela. At this place we found an excel- 
lent hotel and bathing. You can have your choice of hot or cold 
sulphur baths, or fine surf bathing, for a nominal sum. It is pret- 
tily situated on the coast about four miles from La Guaira, and is 
the fashionable seaside resort of Venezuela. All the society people 
of Caracas spend more or less time here each season, which 
usually opens December ist, and lasts two months. After some 
time spent here, we returned to Caracas. 


It would be impossible to tell of all that grows in this far 
Southern country — of all the tropical fruits and plants, many of 
which are so delicate that they cannot be shipped even a very 
little distance and are never exported. But there are three 
which are of interest to all, as we all use them. 


Through the courtesy of General Jose Antonia Masquaro, 
I was shown through his coffee plantation and works near the 
city of Caracas, and learned from him the following facts regard- 
ing coffee culture. 

In planting coffee, the bean in its natural state, is laid on rich 
soil, with a light covering of dirt and another covering of leaves. 
In about three weeks the plant comes through, and in about six 
weeks, two or three leaves show. Care must be taken at all 
times, to protect the plant from the rays of the sun. It is then 
taken up and set where it is to grow. Coffee trees if well protected 
and cultivated, live and bear up to sixty or seventy years or even 
longer, if in rich soil and proper temperature. Each tree will 
produce on an average, one pound of coffee per year. 

The trees grow to a height of about eight feet and are inclined 
to be bushy. The shading of the trees is necessary to protect 
it from the sun, and is usually done by planting it under a mango 
and other fruit trees that have a dense foliage, though it is some- 
times done with banana and plantains. When so done no atten- 
tion is paid to the fruit of the tree, as they are simply planted for 
the shade. 

The picking of coffee begins about Oct. ist, and ends about 
Jan. ist, in each year. General Masquara employs from 150 to 
200 women as pickers on his estate. 

It is a very interesting thing to follow the coffee from the tree 
to the steamer. Each woman has a basket in front of her, tied 
with rope around her waist, that she drops the pods into. When 
the basket is full, the coffee is then carried in and piled on a 


brick floor, where it looks very much Hke large cranberries both 
in size and color. It is next put through a cylinder, where the 
hulls are crushed, then pass into a vat where the coffee bean lays 
in water for about three hours. During this time the sugar the 
coffee is coated with when it comes out of the pod, leaves it and 
the water at the same time, assists in giving the bean the proper 
color. From this vat it is spread out on a large brick floor, in the 
sun to dry. There it is stirred frequently to prevent any part of 
it from mildewing. After it is dried, it is next put into a trough 
and large hardwood rollers pass over it, until the pod and other 
substances which may have adhered to the bean are removed. 
From there it is put through a fanning mill, where the pods and 
chaff are separated from the bean. From the fanning mill it 
goes to a long separating sieve, of cylindrical shape, where 
again it is subjected to another thorough cleaning and all small 
beans are dropped out. From this sieve it is put on tables, where 
it is hand-picked by women, and all black and bad beans are 
picked out. From these tables it goes into bags, thence to steamers 
on donkey-backs, in carts or by rail, as the means of transportation 
oft'er, thence to the consumer to all parts of the world. 

Five pounds of coffee in the pod as it is picked from the tree 
makes one pound of merchantable coffee. 


The cacao (pronounced kaycou) raises the chocolate bean, 
grows from fifteen to twenty feet high and from three to eight 
inches in diameter. It requires a hot, damp ground and shaded 
so that no rays of the sun can penetrate to tree or fruit. It grows 
to bear at four years, at six years it is in its prime, and, if properly 
cared for, will bear fruit from twenty-five to thirty years. 

The cacao pod grows out from the body of the tree something 
like a fungus, and it looks, as far as shape is concerned, like a 
large cucumber, that has been allowed to ripen, and go to seed 
its color is very nearly maroon. 


Senor Luis Ruis, the owner of the largest chocolate establish- 
ment in Caracas, kindly permitted me to go through it, and there 
I saw the process of chocolate making, from the time the bean 
entered the door to the time it went out in boxes ready for the 

After being hulled, the bean is roasted, next it is put into a 
separator, of cylinder shape, where the different grades are 
sorted out. The process of sorting the bean is similar to the one 
in use in our wheat elevators, to clean and separate the wheat. 
It goes from the separator to a crusher, and next to a fanning 
mill, where all chaff and foreign matter is blown out of it. From 
there to the grinder, where it is made into paste ; from the grinder 
it passes under two large rollers, where sugar and cinnamon is 
mixed with it, thence it passes between three stone rollers, similar 
to those used for making patent flour. That is what they call 
the fining process. From these large rollers it passes between 
another set of rollers, where it is further mixed and refined. 
Thence it goes to the worm, something like our sausage grinders, 
there it is cut off and weighed and cut into forms, put on an 
agitated table, that shakes and levels, or evens it. It is then 
set to one side when in twenty-four hours it is dry and ready 
for the market. The chocolate here when on the market, sells 
at 26, 32, 40 and 50 cents per pound according to the grade, it 
is all pure chocolate, the only difference being in the grade of 
bean used. 

Senor Anjel Quintoro, who has a cacao estate of 38,400 
acres, near La Guaira, on which he has 25,000 trees, in addition to 
the cocoa-palm, lemon, orange trees, etc., says that there are 
different kinds of cacao, some sweet and some bitter. The sweet 
sells for $32 per fanago (no pounds.) The bitter sells for $12 
per fanago. He also tells me that of the chocolate beans shipped 
out of this country, that the best goes to Spain as the Spaniards 
are willing to pay the price demanded, while the poorer grades go 
to Paris and New York. 



The land which produces the best quality of sugar is a rich 
loam with good drainage, and in extremely dry weather, can be 
irrigated. If lands are not too rich, they raise a very large cane, 
but of an inferior quality as a sugar producer. I could not ascer- 
tain how much an acre would produce as they do not measure 
land that way. 

One "Tablone" of land, loo square meters, near this city 
will produce 9,000 pounds of "Papelon" or raw sugar and 300 
gallons of rum. The expense of cultivating each "Tablone" 
is reckoned at S30, cutting, etc., at $25. 

The lands in the valley of Caracas produces from 20 to 30 per 
cent more sugar per "Tablone" than any other part of Venezuela, 
hence are more valuable. It would be hard to buy any of the 
sugar estates, or in fact the coffee estates either, as General Mas- 
quara has repeatedly refused $500,000 for his coffee plantation, 
and $250 has been refused for a sugar estate, per "Tablone," 
where there was plenty of water for power and for irrigation 

Sugar sells in the market here from 10 to 20 cents per pound, 
according to its fineness. The finest grades obtainable here is 
about like our "Extra c" in color, but much better in quality. 
No grades like our granulated, cut-loaf or pulverized can be 
obtained here, and its importation is prohibited. 

The sugarcane is planted in rows, about eighteen inches apart, 
and is hoed until it shades itself. The last time it is hoed, it is 
hilled up, leaving a furrow for irrigating between the rows. In 
this country it takes eighteen months from the time the planting 
is done, and the cane is ready for the sugar mill. 

With the present price of sugar here and a law prohibiting its 
importation, the Sugar Trust can "see" the United States and 
give it several pointers which our "Sugar Kings" have never 
thought of. 

In addition to coffee, cocoa, and sugar, there are exported large 


quantities of Tonke Beans, Vanilla, Indigo, Divi-Divi and other 
spices and articles of commerce which can only be produced in 
the tropics. There are also hides and goat skins shipped out every 
year. Venezuela has some of the richest gold mines in the world. 
There are a great many mountains and they are filled with miner- 
als of all kinds though only gold, silver, and precious stones have 
been sought for thus far. Inexhaustible beds of coal, iron and 
marble awaits development, while the immense forests of mahog- 
any, rose-wood, satin-wood, ebony and in fact all the cabinet 
woods known to man only waits capital and energy to make 
fortunes for those engaged in the work. Perhaps the largest 
virgin forests of rubber trees, Peruvian bark and other commercial 
and medicinal plants in the world are to be found in South America. 

There are inexhaustible salt and pitch lakes; the lakes are 
controlled by the Government and are leased out for a term of 
years and the importation of salt is prohibited, while the pitch 
lakes near the Orinoco have been worked for hundreds of years 
without showing any diminution in quantity, or that any pitch 
had been taken out of them, they seem to be like the sea, impos- 
sible to empty. 

On one estate about 20 miles from Caracas there are found 
sixty-five different kinds of timber, most of them valuable, this 
estate is called "Los Caracas." 

Stock raising is also carried on to quite an extent, although 
the horses and cattle are very inferior, having bred and inter-bred 
since the Spaniards brought them over, and no attempt has been 
made to improve them. 

Venezuela contains 632,000 square miles, a little less 
than one fifth the size of the United States, outside of Alaska, or 
larger than Texas, California, North and South Dakota and Illi- 
nois combined. It has a great many mountains, among which 
are the Andes. Large plains and pampas, as well as forests, and 
some of its valleys, noticably that of the Orinoco, cannot be 
surpassed in fertility. The scenery is grand, beyond my power 

No, He Isn't Crazy — Fargo Merely Thought of Something She Thinks 
She Would Like, and He is Going After It. 


•. ASTOn, L^NOX 


of description, so will not attempt that. It has some large inland 
lakes which abound in fish of various kinds while its forests are 
alive with plumaged birds, including macaw, parrot, parro- 
quet, condor, etc., to say nothing about monkeys, baboons, 
anacondas, as well as lions and tigers in the mountains. 

The military strength is about 250,000 men, the regular army 
is supposed to have 2,000 officers, though I believe there are three 
or four times that many. Ever>' Venezuelian between certain 
ages is subject to military duty, and is compelled to go w^hen the 
emergency calls, without the formality of volunteering or being 

The people as a rule are well educated, nearly all speaking 
French as well as Spanish and many are good English scholars, 
among the wealthy class many have received their education in 
the United States, England, and France. 

The mode of travel except along the sea coast where you can 
travel a comparatively short distance by rail, is to either walk 
or ride horse back and if you go into the interior any ways, you will 
have to ride a mule, the traveling is very difficult, expensive, and 
often very dangerous. 

There are no political issues in Venezuela, as with us, no dis- 
cussion of tariff, or reforms, no internal or other improvement or 
honesty or economy in the administration of Governmental affairs. 
It seems to be all of a personal nature and personal following 
that the political leaders have than any statecraft, principle or 
policy that they represent. The tariff duties are very high on 
imports and on some exports. The customs duties so collected 
are all that keeps the Government alive. The only other taxes 
are internal revenue stamps on all contracts, legal documents, 
and a license exacted from all business men, similar to that paid 
by saloonkeepers in the United States. There are no taxes 
on real estate, in the country or on the unimproved property 
in the cities, but the buildings in the cities are taxed one-twelfth 
of their gross income. 


The Catholic is the only religion here and is supported by 
the State. There is not a Protestant church in Venezuela, though 
all religions are free and you may be a member of any denomination 
you please, or none at all if that suits you better. On Sunday 
afternoons and evenings, they have their bull-fights, cock-fights, 
fashionable operas, circuses, and all saloons and business houses 
run at full blast and are well patronized. 


September 12, 1900. 

Having been selected as one of the delegates to attend the 
meeting of the Farmers National Congress at Colorado Springs, 
Colorado, it may interest some of the readers of the Forum to 
learn some things that can be seen on the trip. We left St. Paul 
at 10 A. M., arriving at Omaha at 10:30 that evening, a distance of 
372 miles. There v^^e took the Union Pacific at 11:30, arriving at 
Denver the next afternoon over one hour late. The weather all 
the way was exceeding warm, the thermometer running from 
90 to 95 in the cars, the result was we either had to sufifocate 
with heat in having the windows closed, or suffocate with dust in 
having them open. In all my experience in traveling, I don't 
think I ever saw so dusty a road, it was simply terrific ; the bal- 
lasting must be with dirt and sand only, for it was difficult to see 
the end of the train. We followed the Platte nearly all the way 
from Omaha to Denver. The Platte is one of the curiosities in 
the way of a river, it is very long and wide and has very little water 
in it) only small rivulets running among the sand. We saw no 
place that one could not have waded across it with safety. A 
Nebraska man compared the Platte with Bryan; viz., by saying 
he was like the Platte, he was 2,000 miles long, 4 miles wide, and 
2 inches deep. 

The city of Denver is a wonder ; it is a city of about 1 70,000 
people and growing very fast, has immense wealth, and its future 


seems to be assured. We were met by my friend, Mayor Henry 
V. Johnson, who took us to different parts of the city, of which 
he has every reason to feel proud. They have some of the finest 
parks it has ever been my good fortune to see, all artificial, but 
made to look as though it was natural. In one park, among other 
attractions in it, they have a lake of 25 acres, with fish of all kinds 
in it, row boats, electric launches and other craft ; they have also 
animals, such as elk, moose, deer, buffalo, bear, mountain lions, 
wild cats and one of the greatest curiosities was a shorthorn cow 
weighing 3,000 pounds. Denver expends $50,000 per year on its 

Leaving Denver, we went on to Colorado Springs, about 80 
miles distant, where we were taken care of at the Hotel Alamo, 
by mine host Elstun. Here we found a city of about 25,000 
hustling Americans, with my friend, Mayor Robinson, as chief 

During the sessions, we, in common with all the delegates, 
visited various places of interest, such as the Garden of the Gods, 
the Windy Caves, the Seven Cannons, and other places, but chief 
was our trip to Pike's Peak. That trip was one long to be remem- 
bered. The distance from Manitou is 8.1 miles to the summit. 
I will not weary your readers with what we saw on our way up. 
The ascent nearly the whole distance is 25 per cent, and the cars 
are pushed by engines especially constructed for mountain climb- 
ing, with a double row of cogs in the center of the track, thus 
making it absolutely safe, for if one cog should break the other 
would hold the train. The speed is only about as fast as a man 
would trot his horse in ordinary travel. Winding up the side of 
the mountain, we came to Windy Point, above the timber line, 
where a stop is made and you can get out, and unless you are 
careful you are liable to lose your hat, it is always windy there. 
The next stop is on the summit, about a mile above Windy Point, 
when you arrive there you are 14,147 feet above sea-level. 

The altitude affects people in different ways, some get dizzy, 


some will faint, in fact it will affect all in some way. Here over- 
coats and wraps come in, no matter how warm it was where you 
started from. You are now amidst perpetual snow. From the 
summit of the peak you can see 180,000 square miles of land, 
you can see mountain ranges 180 miles away in Arizona, and 
see the plains of Kansas, Nebraska, and Colorado. The Govern- 
ment maintained a signal station on the summit, until a few years 
ago, when it was abolished. The Western Union has an office 
there which is the highest in the world, and where visitors can send 
messages without any extra expense to their friends. No one 
who visits Colorado Springs can afford to miss taking the trip 
up Pike's Peak. While the fare of $5 seems exorbitant, when 
you have taken the trip and see what has been done for your com- 
fort you soon come to the conclusion that it is very cheap. 

Copenhagen, Denmark, January 17, 1901. 
Pioneer Press : 

Prior to my leaving for my European trip I promised my 
friend. Col. Hamlin, that I would give the readers of the Pioneer 
Press my impressions of what I saw from time to time. I will 
now fulfill my promise to the best of my ability. I left Portland, 
Me., on the first of January, on the Allan line steamship Numid- 
ian; Capt. Wm. S. Main, Mr. David Gondie, purser and Dr. 
A. M. McPherson, surgeon. The passenger list was light and the 
officers named, as well as the other officers, made it very pleasant 
for us. While neither the largest nor fastest of the Allan line 
fleet, the Numidian is one of the best to travel on as she rolls 
very little. She is 400 feet long and 45 feet beam and 34^ feet 
deep. She was loaded down so she drew 25 feet. The load 
consisted of nearly all kinds of produce — flour and feed and apples 
in barrels and thousands of pounds of sole leather, all Canadian 
products. We had, for this time of year, a very nice trip. The 
first few days, until we had gotten away from the cold of Nova 
Scotia and Newfoundland, were cold and the water got down 


to 28 degrees and the atmosphere still lower. As soon as we 
reached the gulf stream the water arose to 54 degrees and the 
atmosphere to 46. We arrived in Liverpool on Sunday evening, 
January 13th, passing the north of Ireland and the Isle of Man. 
We could see Ireland, Scotland, and the Isle of Man from the 
steamer at the same time. We found the Irish Sea, like the people 
it is named for, exceedingly lively. 

^luch has been ■^Titten about Liverpool, but I presume the 
impression formed by each one is different. To me it was dis- 
appointing. The buildings are old and "squat." But very 
few more than three stories high and the stories very low. There 
are many two story buildings in Fargo higher than the three-story 
buildings. The streets are well paved and kept reasonably 
clean. The street cars remind you of a circus van. They are 
double deckers, with stairs on each end; the passengers on top 
are behind a railing, covered with all kinds of advertisements — 
such as soaps, cigars, liquors, etc. They charge according to the 
distance you ride ; the conductor asks hov/ far you are going and 
charges accordingly. 

Leaving Liverpool I took the Great Central Railway for 
Guinsey, distance 175 miles. Between the two cities we passed 
through some of the most important cities in England; among 
others Manchester, Birmingham, Sheffield and Nottingham, each 
well known for their manufacturing enterprises. I had the good 
fortune to have with me in my compartment, a wealthy English- 
man, by the name of F. S. Hatchward, Sasby Hall, Hull, who 
was returning from his hunting preserves of Lincolnshire. He 
told me all about the country we were passing through. Some 
of it was quite high, resembling the Blue Ridge of Virginia, if 
they were denuded of timber. They were cultivated to the very 
tops and fenced in with stone fences; in all kinds of small plots 
and at all possible angles. Going down to Sheffield, we came to a 
level land. Mr. Hatchward told me that the land on the hill 
rented at from 10 to 12 shillings per acre, from $2.50 to $3.00 per 


year and that the best land in the low lands rented at from 3 to 4 
pounds — $15.00 to $20.00 per acre per year. I saw no land 
any better, if as good, as can be secured in North Dakota at what 
it rents for in one year. 

At Grimsby I boarded the Danish steamer, Olga, Capt. 
O. P. Christianson, and in 30 hours arrived at the Danish port of 
Esbjorg. This is a place of from 12,000 to 14,000 inhabitants. 
25 years ago it was a sand bank, with a few fishermen there; now 
it has all the attributes of an American town and I can pay it no 
higher compliment than by making that comparison. It has a 
system of water works, electric lights, sewers, etc., and the prin- 
cipal streets are well paved with asphalt and granite — the latter 
being imported from Norway. 

At Esbjorg I took the train for this city, distance 135 miles. 
The country between here and Esbjorg is generally level, looks 
something like North Dakota, between Jamestown and Bismarck, 
but thickly settled; the land all shows a high state of cultivation. 

Denmark has a world wide reputation as a dairy country. I 
have eaten Danish butter in Central and South America, the West 
Indies and Mexico, and I have always found it good. I saw 
numerous creameries on the way. The farm houses looked 
"queer" to me; low and nearly all with straw thatching for the 
roof. The stables were like the houses — both built of brick or 
stone. When of the latter they were generally stuccoed. The 
dwellings and barns were usually joined together and when not, 
a few feet apart but they were all clean looking, no unsightly rub- 
bish or manure piles. 

Between here and Esbjorg we had to ferry twice. Esbjorg is 
on the Island of Jutland and the first ferry takes you to the Island 
of Fano. The ferry is short and it takes an hour, with a fast 
steamer to take you from the Island of Fano to the Island of Jut- 
land. It is on this Island that Copenhagen is situated. We 
arrived here at 8 :i5, being 8^ hours on the way. 

Here I want to say something about the Danish railroads. 


The one I came over is called the " Dans Stats Bana,' ' viz. : Danish 
State Railroad. It is o^vned and operated by the Danish govern- 
ment, which draws large revenues from the same. The fares 
are graduated in classes — the first class being about 4 cents per 
mile; the second about 3 cents and the third about 2 cents per 
mile. The only difference between first and second class is the 
upholstering; the first class being the best and only 5 passengers 
can ride in a first class compartment; and it also has a toilet 
room. In the others they will put in all it will hold and it has 
poor upholstering and no toilet. The third class is about 6x7 
feet — passengers facing each other. Each car has first, second 
and third class compartments. The cars are about 30 feet long, 
with 4 wheels on each, two at each end. The freight cars are 
about 16 feet long and 6 feet wide, about 6^ feet high and have 
trucks like the passenger cars, two wheels at each end. The 
locomotives are very small — smaller than any I have ever seen 
at home. The engineer and his fireman have very little protec- 
tion from the elements. The cab is very small, indeed only about 
3 feet long. The locomotives are not provided with lights. I 
thought when I saw and talked with the engineer that if one of 
the Fargo locomotives was here, he would almost be afraid to 
touch it — fearing it could not haul itself to the shops. What 
I have said about the cars and locomotives of the Danish railroads 
w^ill also apply to the English railway — at least the one I was on 
and those I saw. 

I am going to stay here a couple of days before I go to Gothen- 
burg, Sweden, where I shall write you a letter and tell you all, as this 
letter is much longer than I intended to make it when I com- 
, menced. 

GoTEBURG, Sweden, January 21, igoi. 
Municipal Journal and Engineer, New York City: 

I will now try and fulfill, as far as I can, the promise I made 
to Mr. Crandall at Charlestown, S. C. At the outset I wish to 
say that any opinion I may express here I reserve the right to 


withdraw on further investigation. I have only been in Europe 
eight days yet, and may have been misinformed or misunderstood 
some things. I shall visit all the places I shall name again and 
investigate still further. I will not touch Liverpool in this letter 
but reserve that until I return there. I spent three days in Copen- 
hagen, Denmark. This is one of the oldest and most interesting 
places in Europe. Its history dates back to 1167. I shall not, 
however, endeavor to go into detail. The city has repeatedly 
been partially destroyed by fire and particularly during the 30 
years war with Sweden. In 1807 a British fleet attacked the town 
before any declaration of war had been issued, and captured the 
Danish fleet and the city felt the effects for nearly 50 years. Its 
property — since its recovery from the effects of the foregoing 
capture — has been a phenomena for a European city. In 1850, 
it had a population of 130,000. Now it claims to have a popula- 
tion of 413,000. It has many fine public as well as private build- 
ings. Its schools, colleges, and theatres are as good as can be 
found anywhere, its people are interesting and up-to-date in every 

During the short time I was there I could not secure much 
information about municipal matters but such as I secured will 
be glad to give your readers; with the reservation mentioned 
above. It seems they have 4 mayors, each co-ordinate with the 
others and neither the actual executive head of the city. Each 
has a separate department of which he has full charge. 

I found the streets well paved — mostly with granite — but 
it is the smoothest and best laid granite I ever saw. I found a 
few streets paved with asphalt. The majority of the streets are 
too narrow — much too narrow for the needs of traflftc. People 
have to walk between the vehicles — some of the sidewalks not 
being wide enough for the accommodation of pedestrians. All of 
the streets are kept very clean by hand labor. The city is well 
supplied with street cars — some with horses and some with elec- 
trical power. They are installing electricity as fast as they can. 


There is one thing the city is deficient in and that is sewerage. 
The present sewers empty into the harbor, or rather, that is, the 
only drawback to it. It cannot be called deficient. That draw- 
back wall be remedied in the near future. Steps are now being 
taken to construct large underground canals or sewers which 
will convey the sewerage under the harbor to the Island of Amanger 
where it will be pumped into the Sound. The estimated cost of 
these enterprises I am not sure whether I was told was $1,200,000 
or 1,200,000 kroners. When that is completed Copenhagen 
will have the best sewerage system in Europe. 

While in Copenhagen I called upon our minister, the Hon. 
L. S. Svenson of Minnesota. While I had never before met Mr. 
Svenson, I felt that I had knowTi him for many years, having lived 
in Minnesota more than 25 years and I had read a great deal about 
his great work, not only as an educator but as a student and a 
statesman. I found him all that I had pictured him to be and 
even more. On my return home I will again visit Copenhagen and 
Mr. Svenson has kindly promised to secure me some information 
about municipal affairs and to also show me the sights of this 
wonderful city. 

I omitted in the proper place to mention the way taxes are 
leWed and collected. In addition to licenses for certain privileges 
the property is assessed as with us. In addition to that, there is 
an income tax on all incomes over 600 kroners (about $168.00). 
The first 600 kroners are exempt from the tax. 

When I sat down I intended to say something about the place 
but as I have only been here less than 2 days, I think I better not 
do so at this time. I will write another letter of this city and 
perhaps several more. 

Stockholm, Sweden, January 25, 1901. 
Pioneer Press: 

As you will now see I am at the capital city of Sweden; to 
reach it I have travelled 6,162 miles from Fargo. If space per- 


mitted I would like to give your readers a history of this grand and 
beautiful city. Its history does not date back so far as many of 
the European cities but none of them have more interesting facts 
connected with them than has Stockholm. 

They claim a population of 300,000 and also that the city is 
growing very fast; judging by the new buildings now in the 
course of construction I believe that to be a fact but I shall not 
attempt to describe the beautiful location, scenery, etc.; it has 
been the theme of poets for generations. 

I will simply say it reminds me of Washington, D. C, and 
when I compare anything in Europe to anything in the United 
States I cannot pay it any higher compliment. I find most of 
the streets — especially in this city — wide and well paved with 
granite and kept as clean as in any city I have ever visited. The 
city (like Washington) abounds in many beautiful parks and in 
all of them you will find bronze and marble statues of men who 
have made Swedish history ; and they are not all of noble or even 
royal birth like Gustavus Adolphus and Charles XII. In front 
of the hotel where I am writing this, I see a bronze statue of Nils 
Erickson — a brother of our own John Erickson — the inventor 
of the Monitor, the screw propeller, and many other important 
inventions. As soon as the weather permits a statue will be 
erected to John Erickson. 

Stockholm has many elegant buildings, both public and private. 
To attempt to describe or even enumerate them would take more 
time than either you or I would care to give. However, I will enum- 
erate a few of the more prominent public buildings. The Royal 
Palace is of course the most prominent and is splendidly located 
where it can be seen from nearly every portion of the city. It is the 
official residence of King Oscar and the Crown Prince, and has 
been so occupied since its completion in 1755. Perhaps a building 
of the most interest is the Ridelarhorm's Church — it was at one 
time a Catholic Convent of the order of St. Francis. It now is 
and has been for more than 300 years, a mosleum for the royal 


family. Here rest the remains of the great Gustavus Adolphus 
as well as the warrior-lion of the North, Charles XII, and all the 
line since their time. Perhaps the next in interest is the Rid- 
darhuset; it contains the records and other interesting matters 
connected with the nobility. On the first floor is a large hall, 
entirely covered with 2,892 escutcheons. The National Museum 
is another of the striking public buildings; it has been occupied 
since 1866. On the front facade are medallion reliefs of the 
great Swedish botanist, Linnaeus and Borelius, the chemist; 
Ehranstram, the painter; Tignor, poet; Wallen, poet; Togel- 
berg, sculptor; Tessen, architect, and Sergei, the sculptor. It 
would be impossible for me to endeavor to describe the wonders 
which are contained within the four walls of the building. The 
collection of coins alone takes up a large portion of the first floor. 

Through the courtesy of Dr. D. O. Bell, secretary to our min- 
ister, I was introduced to Capt. Hanson, the superintendent of 
the waterworks system and also to Mayor Altrug, the chief engi- 
neer of the city. Both gentlemen gave me all the information 
possible in departments. I find the city has one of the finest and 
most up-to-date systems of water supply, with the purest of water 
and a sewer system that even Detroit, Mich., cannot excel. I 
have not had time to look into the police department but from 
what I have seen there is very little need of it. I have not seen 
a man under the influence of liquor or a man or woman that 
should be arrested. 

I am in round figures, 840 miles north of Fargo, yet the harbor 
is free from ice and boats are plying to and fro in all directions, 
people are wearing spring and fall wraps, and it is hard to believe 
it possible. 

I am proud of our American minister here, the Hon. W. W. 
Thomas of Portland, Maine. Mr. Thomas is well known in the 
Northwest. He has lived in Sweden so long as consul and min- 
ister that he talks, reads, and writes Swedish like a native. I 
have been told repeatedly — both here and in Goteburg — that 


there is only one man in the city more popular than our minister. 
When I asked who that was I am told that man is King Oscar, 
and some even doubt whether Minister Thomas is not the most 
popular of the two. I had the pleasure of an introduction to Mrs. 
Thomas. She is a native of Sweden, descended from one of the 
oldest families of the nobility. In addition to speaking Swedish 
and English, she also speaks several other European tongues. 
She is one of the most accomplished ladies in Stockholm and is 
distinguished by presiding over the social functions of the legation 
quite as creditably as any American lady could. 

Christiania, Norway, Januar}^ 31, 1901. 
Pioneer Press: 

As you will see I am now in the land of the "Vikings." If the 
shores of the fjords and bays could talk, what wonderful tales 
would they unfold. It was from these shores that the "terrible 
Norsemen" went forth on their expeditions of conquest and 
plunder. It was from these shores that the hardy seamen of the 
Northland went forth and discovered, not only discovered but 
made settlements at Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts hun- 
dreds of years before the birth of Columbus. 

But at the time of the discovery of America, the time had not 
arrived when it could be settled, in fact, it was nearly 150 years 
after the discovery by Columbus before any permanent settle- 
ment was made. The Scandinavian race will in time receive 
due credit for what it has done for civilization and the liberty of 
the human race. The old Vikings of Norway, Sweden and Den- 
mark left their marks wherever they went and where they hold 
sway and left their descendants you will find the greatest 
measure of liberty that is to be found on earth, as may be seen 
here in Norway, Sweden, Denmark and England, as well as Scot- 

This city, of whose hospitality I am partaking, is another of 
the cities that has not only an interesting history, but one of such 


wonderful prosperit\- that it stands out in bold relief among the 
few really prosperous cities in Europe. According to a book, 
issued in 1900, by G. Anneus of this city, it is claimed they have 
a population of over 200,000, whereas as late as 1840 they had 
only 23,121, including all its suburbs. It is one of the leading 
shipping points in Europe and one of the features of it is that a 
very large part of it is carried on in bottoms owned by the citizens 
of this city. The increase in the tonnage 336,000 to 1,575,000 
between 1880 and 1898, and the increase of sail and steam was 
from 1,630,000 to 2,696,000 tons. The seagoing population of 
this city, engaged in foreign commerce is, according to the authority 
named, 4,500. 

The hotels and public buildings are as fine as I have seen. 
Last evening I attended the National Theatre; there I saw one 
of Ibsen's great plays. The theatre is the finest building of the 
kind I ever saw. It is superbly magnificent ; all gilt and marble 
with other adjuncts, such as convenient check rooms and large 
saloons where the patrons can retire at intermission or for other 
cause. On each side are large corridors, with side doors to the 
street and liveried attendants, thus permitting you to go about 
from your seat to the side without being compelled to pass down 
the central aisle and be exposed to the gaze of the curious. Ameri- 
can managers would do well to pattern after this city. 

Norway seems to be nearer a pure democracy than anything 
I have seen since leaving home. Here, as with us, is universal 
suffrage, with a small property qualification. A voter must have 
paid taxes on at least 300 kroner (about $84) that is the only 
qualification, aside from age and legal residence, and the legal 
age for voting is 25 years, also it requires 2 years residence if you 
move from country to city, before you are a qualified voter. The 
government of cities here, as in Sweden and Denmark, is com- 
plicated (to an outsider at least) and it is difficult to arrive at a 
proper conclusion. And any opinion I may express, is made 
with the reservation that I can modifv it if I have been misinformed 


or have not understood correctly. There are two kinds of taxes 
levied, on real and personal property, as vi^ith us and also on in- 
comes and inheritance tax. A man told me he had paid 30 
kroner per year on an income of 1200 kroner, in addition to his 
other taxes. The sale of liquors is handled here substantially as 
in Gothenburg, viz. : The city permits a private corporation to 
contract for its sale, the city receiving all profits over 6 per cent 
on the capital invested by the corporation, less all other expenses. 
I am under obligations to Hon. Henry Brodevich, of Granite 
Falls, Minn., Consul General of the United States. Consul 
Brodevich, like all the representatives of the United States, seems 
to be the right man in the right place. He is very popular with all 
classes and that he is looking after the interests of the United 
States, can be shown by the following figures he has permitted me 
to copy from his report to the State Department : 

Petroleum 1898 $748,460 1899 $937,438 

Beef 1898 233,540 1899 391)628 

Pork 1898 78,000 1899 59,000 

Leather 1898 232,000 1899 396,747 

1,292,000 1,784,840 

Tallow and lard 406,000 1898 65,266 

Grain and Farm Products 1,224,550 1898 1,688,298 

Making a total in 1898 of $2,922,550 and in 1899 of $4,038,404. 
Excess in 1899 over 1898 of $1,315,854. 

Following is a total statement of the reports for the following 
years, viz.: 1896, $3,045,433; 1897, $3,240,200; 1898, $3,836,700; 
1899, $5,172,000. 

This makes a gratifying showing of its imports. It will be 
seen, with the single exception of beef for 1899, all other items 
have shown a marked increase. Consul General Brodevich in- 
forms me that new lines are added each year and one of the greatest 
increases will be seen in the item of grain and grain products, 
$463,748 in 1899 over 1898. I cannot, without making this letter 


too long, enter into detail on the subject of imports or exports, or 
into the details of this city. There are many interesting matters 
that could be wTitten regarding Christiania and at some future 
time I may write another letter. 

I had the pleasure of meeting and being interviewed by Mr. 
and Mrs. Olaf Kringen. Mr. Kringen at one time taught school 
(English) in Walsh and Benson Counties in North Dakota, and is 
well acquainted in our state and with our public men. He devotes 
his time principally to writing for the press and is considered 
one of the best and brightest men in his line ; if he remains here 
he will be heard from in the future. He is only about 35 years 
old and is recognized as one of the leading men in Norway. He 
is also the Norwegian correspondent of a number of American 
journals. He is the recognized leader here of the social democratic 
party and that party, by the way, is not what we call at home by 
the same name. 

I had the pleasure of entertaining Mr. Thomasen. He is 
editor-in-chief of the Varden Gang, one of the leading, if not the 
leading, daily papers here. He is one of the stanchest friends the 
United States has in Europe. His tongue and pen are ever ready to 
help defend America and American institutions. At the breaking 
out of the Spanish-American war, he predicted the results that 
followed and had many word battles with many, who not only 
prophesied, but hoped the results would be disastrous to us. 

I am informed by men who knoW what they talk about, that 
there will be 20,000 people leave Norway for the United States 
this year; times are not good here now. Crop failures and 
failures in fishing and severe storms have had bad effects on busi- 
ness and various industries here. 

Vexio, Sweden, February 10, 1901. 
Pioneer Press: 

I have given the readers of the Northwest some information 
of my trip to Europe, and some facts about some of the most im- 


portant cities I have visited. I will now try and give them my 
impressions of these, to me, interesting and to a great many of 
your readers of the Scandinavian peninsula of Sweden and Norway 

I have travelled through Sweden in the directions, north, south, 
east and west, and what I say of Sweden will apply — so far as I 
have been able to see — to Norway as well. Times here are any- 
thing but good ; in fact, times are hard and nearly everyone admits 
there is much unrest, and more especially in Sweden, under the 
proposed military law; and all admit if it does not pass at this 
session of the Rigstad that it will at the next. I learn it is based 
on the German law. Every able bodied man must serve one full 
year in the army and for a certain number of years thereafter be 
liable to military duty; and will not be permitted to leave the 
country until he is beyond the age of military duty. It will be 
readily seen that while the present cost of maintaining the army 
is large, the proposed plan will make it much greater. 

I have not been able to ascertain the strength of the present 
army but it is large. In and about Stockholm alone there are 
kept over 10,000 men all the time. At Gotheburg, another force; 
at Helsingsberg, a place of 8,000, is a regiment of artillery, at 
Mabino, a few miles further, may be seen more and so it is all 
over the country. How these people can stand it is more than I 
have been able to figure out. 

Norway and Sweden combined, have less population than 
either Pennsylvania or New York, yet combined they maintain 
an expensive royal government and a foreign diplomatic and 
consular service , then each supports a separate army and navy. 
Added to this, the various officers that are met with everywhere, 
(and they pay most of their officers — especially in the diplomatic 
service — much better than we do) and in addition thereto the 
local taxes, more especially in cities, where, by the way, in both 
cities and country, include the maintaining of churches and clergy. 
When all these things have been paid there is very little left after 
a frugal living has been taken out of it, Everybody pays taxes 


here, even the income of the servant-girl is taxed, not much for 
each one, but all have to assist in sustaining the government and 
the church. 

The people are all well educated. Statistics show that only 
one-sixth of i per cent over the age of lo years cannot read and 
write and have, at least, the rudiments of arithmetic. That is a 
record no other nation in the world can show. They are very 
polite and obliging to strangers; any one will go a block out of 
their way to direct you. They have a beautiful custom which I 
should like to see adopted at home, viz. : Go where you will, you 
will see sheaf of wheat left for the birds. In cities, even, you will 
see that and where they cannot get the sheaf, they put grain in 
boxes and set the boxes on the window ledges. If the window 
ledges are not wide enough the grain is scattered on the sidewalks. 

There is one custom I cannot commend and that is the "tips" 
at the hotels, and I will say that custom covers all Europe. The 
hotels that claim to be first class — and in fact, they make you 
pay first class prices — you go to a hotel, get a room and are in- 
formed as to price, if you are not careful to bargain for heat and 
light that will be extra. You go into the drawing room, and a 
man in full evening dress (not in a short round-about and white 
apron) comes with dignity enough to overwhelm you, you give 
your order and it will come in piecemeal (if you don't get after him). 
You pay the price named in the bill of fare and in addition to that 
you are expected to pay the waiter about 15 per cent, or if you 
do not, you vidll suffer. He receives no salary from the house, 
in fact, he pays the management for the privilege of working. 
Some of the waiters in the best hotels make from $2,000 to $4,000 
per year. In addition to the waiters you must pay the chamber- 
maid and porter, neither one of whom receives any salary. But 
the most important man is the "portier. " He is the only man 
whom the guests meet ; usually he speaks a half dozen or more 
languages. When you leave, after paying for your room and 
meals and everyone who has rendered you the least service, you 


are expected to fee him. He, like the rest, gets no salary, but 
pays for his position. I was told in Stockholm that the "portier" 
of the Grand Hotel there, pays 72,000 kroncrs per year (about 
$2 1, 000) for tlic i)rivilt'ge of furnishing the servants of tlie house. 
And he, in turn, sublets each position to the others. This is only 
a sample of every other hotel in Europe, the sum differs only with 
the importance of the hotel, 

GoTEnuRG, Sweden, February 23, igoi. 
Municipal Journal and Engineer, 
New York City. 

I am now possessed of sudicient facts to give your readers 
al)out tlie celebrated Goteburg system for handling tin- H()uor 
trade. On October i, 1865, the "Goteburg Ulskan Kings Hotig" 
took charge of the liquor traflic of this city, but owing to the con- 
tracts and commissions then in existence, it was not till 1S75 tliat 
they were in full control of the liquor tralTic. The Balag (cor- 
poration) is capitalized at 200,000 kroners ($56,000) on which 
it secured a 5 per cent interest or profit annually. All the other 
profits are turned over to the city or to various public institutions. 
Since 1875, to and including 1898, it has turned into the various 
funds entitled to the same, the sum of 16, 282,360 kroners (a kroner 
is 28 cents) the highest year yielding 889,304 kroners and the 
lowest year 489,433 kroners. 

All lic|uors are inspected and must be of certain standard of 
purity. When the Balag came into possession of the entire sale 
it found that where strong drink could be obtained for each 8,569 
persons, in 1899, there was one for each 17,481; that is, where 
liquors could be (obtained for "off consumption"; and in 1868, 
there was one public house for every 2,293 persons. In 1898, 
there was one public house for every 8,158 persons. The lialag 
makes its own regulation as to the sale of liquors. The hours for 
selling is from 8 a. m. to 7 \\ m. The dilTerence between a saloon 
and a public house is, that in tlic latter they must serve hot and 

TRA\^LS 75 

cold eatables at all hours. The persons authorized to sell liquors 
receive no profit on sales. They are paid a certain sum for their 
services and for necessary help, which sum is fixed by the Balag 
at specified times. The Balag furnishes room and fixtures, where 
liquor is kept, and the persons having in charge the selling of same, 
are prohibited from selling to minors, under i8 years of age, or 
to any one who shows any signs of being under the influence of 
liquor. Nor are they permitted to sell more than a certain num- 
ber of drinks (not enough to affect them) in any one place at the 
same time or in quick succession. If the figures before me can 
be relied upon, there can be no question but that this system has 
decreased drunkenness as may be seen by the following : In 1870, 
the average consumption, per head of population, was 11.6 litres, 
while in 1898 it had been reduced to 4.66 litres, the latter is a 
trifle more than one-fourth of a gallon per head. 

The object of the Balag as set forth in their articles of incor- 
poration, are the following: Among many others, to prohibit 
the sale of liqours on credit, to provide well heated and lighted 
rooms, to pro\'ide cooked food at moderate prices, to lower 
the percentage of alcohol, to raise the age limit of young 
persons to whom liquor may be supplied, to shorten the hours 
when spirits are sold, to supply cheap and good food for the 
working classes. 

The system has been extended to nearly every city in Sweden 
as well as in Norway, with somewhat varying conditions. That 
it is a fixture here can be no doubt. I have before me the endorse- 
ment of it from the governors of 18 provinces in Sweden. Much 
more could be written but the above covers the essential points. 

Before leaving Gotheburg I was not able to ascertain the net 
revenues derived by the city. The figures quoted for this city are 
the last to be had. A prominent city official of this city, told me 
that in his judgment, the city's revenue should be much greater 
than it is, for the reason that the corporation first receives its 
6 per cent, then all the expenses are deducted, (and he said these 


expenses were very much greater than they would be if they re- 
ceived all the profit) and what is left goes to the city. 

There is a diversity of opinion as to whether this method has 
diminished drunkenness or not. However, the majority of those 
I have talked with (and I am able to talk with them in their own 
tongue) seem to believe that there is one thing certain. That 
while liquors can be had at all hotels and restaurants as well as 
in the waiting rooms of opera houses, I have not seen any one 
under the influence of liquor on the street or elsewhere, either in 
this city or in Gotheburg. 

In speaking of drinking, there is one thing that strikes an 
American as strange: You may go into many first class hotels 
or restaurants and you will see gentlemen with wives and daugh- 
ters drinking light wines at their meals. The beer has no alcohol 
in it and the wines are so light and pure that they do not affect any 
one as do the most that are sold in the United States. 

I am promised by the Mayor's secretary that I shall be for- 
warded the other methods for raising revenue with which to carry 
on the municipal government. 

Copenhagen, Denmark, March 5, 1901. 
Pioneer Press : — 

I am now back in this interesting city on my return journey. 
I fear that most Americans who visit this city fail to see many of 
the most interesting sights — to be seen both here in the city itself 
as well as in the neighborhood — and I am deeply indebted to 
Hon. L. S. Svenson, our minister at this court, for what I have 
seen of Copenhagen. He has personally taken me to Fredricks- 
burg, one of the many palaces built by the palace builder Christian 
IV; it is now used as one of the national art galleries. It would be 
impossible to describe the beauties of one room, to say nothing of 
the whole palace. It is worth a trip to Europe to see this alone. 

Minister Svenson has also taken me to the Cathedral of Ros- 
keide, the Thorwaldson and the National Museum and Rosenburg 


Castle. The Cathedral contains the remains of the Danish 
royal family for centuries, and is itself one of the oldest church 
edifices in Europe. Thorwaldson Museum contains the works 
of the great Danish sculptor, together with his library and personal 
efifects. Rosenburg Castle contains the furniture, jewels and 
personal effects of the royal family since 1625 to the present time- 
It takes a book of over 100 pages to describe the contents so I will 
not attempt to do so here. The National Museum contains 
curios from all over the world and in addition to this, has the 
best collection of Northern antiquities extant. There is abso- 
lutely nothing in the world to equal it. 

In my Stockholm letter, I spoke of the popularity of our 
minister, Hon. W. W. Thomas of Maine, and what I said I am 
ready to stand by. I have found another American diplomat 
equally as popular as Mr. Thomas and that is our minister here. 
Hon. A. L. Swanson, who has a wife who is as popular as Mrs. 
Thomas is in Stockholm, as both Mr. and Mrs. Swanson are 
natives of Minnesota, I know it will be pleasant for their friends 
to know that they are not only a credit to the State of Minnesota, 
but to the United States as well. To show how popular they are 
is shown that the royal family are frequent visitors here. It is a 
special honor to have the Crown Prince call upon a foreign diplo- 
mat and very few are so honored. That is an honor Mr. Swanson 
has received. Last night the Crown Prince and Prince Hans (a 
brother of King Christian IX) and the members of the royal 
family dined at the Legation, and there is not a lady in the 
land who could have done the honors with more grace than the 
product of the gopher state, Mrs. Swanson. 

It is pleasant to be able to say that not only have I found 
Ministers Thomas and Swanson all that any one could ask of an 
American diplomat, but our consul, General Henry Bosdewick 
of Montivedio, Minnesota, also Consul Freeman of Madison, 
Wis., located here, are each in every respect gentlemen of the high- 
est attainment and are all looking after the interest of the United 


States and in all cases, the ministers and consuls would be a great 
loss to the United States, should any change be made. 

I leave Liverpool March ist, and will reach Fargo about 
April 8th. 

Copenhagen, Denmark, March 6, 1901. 

Pioneer Press: 

Last Saturday evening, the 2d inst.. Minister and Mrs. Svenson 
gave a dinner to Crown Prince Frederick, Prince Hans, a brother 
of the king. Christian IX, the foreign minister. Baron Beckfries 
and the Swedish-Norwegian minister, and many other distin- 
guished gentlemen and their ladies. Minister Svenson honored 
me with an invitation to be present to meet the Prince and other 
guests at the Legation. 

It may interest your readers to know how royalty is received 
at a legation. On their arrival, servants in evening dress, go 
down with silver candelabra and lighted candles to the royal 
carriage, the host goes to receive the royal guests as they step out 
on the ground, the hostess is at the head of the stairs. The 
Crown Prince takes the arm of the host and they enter the ante- 
room. Wraps are removed, the doors of the drawing room are 
thrown open by two servants in evening dress and the Crown 
Prince and hostess enter together. She then makes a deep court- 
esy and the Prince greets the other guests, who are assembled to 
receive him. The conversation then becomes general until the 
host, with a bow, announces that dinner is ready. The Prince 
then takes the arm of the hostess and the other guests follow, ac- 
cording to rank, with ladies of their own rank, they pass into the 
dining hall. 

After the dinner all return to the drawing room and conversa- 
tion is general till coffee is served, which all drink standing. 
Those who desire to smoke are conducted to another room where 
they may enjoy themselves to their heart's content. Tea is then 
served and the guests sit and chat until the Crown Prince, who 
comes last and leaves first, signifies his desire to leave and he bids 


them all good-night. The same ceremony is gone through with 
when royalty leaves as when it arrives. 

The royal family of Denmark is a most remarkable one. King 
Christian is nearly 84 years old, yet his step is quick and his car- 
riage as erect as though only 50 years old. Queen Louisa, his 
wife, died September 19, 1898, nearly 81 years old. Prince 
Bismarck said she was the most talented woman in Europe and 
next to Queen Victoria, was more influential than any woman in 
Europe. She was the mother of a large family of children and a 
mother in the true sense of the word. Among the children we 
find the Dowager Empress of Russia, mother of the present 
Russian Emperor. Another daughter, Alexandria, late Princess 
of Wales and now Queen of England; another daughter is the 
vdie of the Duke of Cumberland, said to be the wealthiest man in 

Of her sons, the eldest is Crown Prince Frederick; another 
son is King George of Greece and another son. Prince Waldemar, 
is an officer in the Danish Navy, and his wife (I must speak of her) 
is the daughter of the Duke of Chartres, a descendant of the 
royal house of Orleans, France. He was an officer in the Union 
army, during our Civil War and was a close friend of the lamented 
Lincoln. His daughter, Princess Maud, is the wife of Prince 
Waldemar. She is much interested in America and everything 
pertaining to our country and takes a lively interest in the Danish 
navy. She is very popular in Copenhagen and perhaps the only 
woman in the world who belongs to the fire department. She is 
an honorary member of the Copenhagen fire department and her 
photograph, in a fireman's uniform, adorns the headquarters 
of the fire department of this city. The way she came to be elected 
a member was this, a number of years ago a big fire was raging 
in one of the poorer quarters of the city. She was a spectator 
for a short time and when she saw the poor people trying to save 
their property, she rushed in and worked by their sides effectively. 
If you want trouble in Copenhagen, all you need to do is to say 


something disparaging of Princess Maud to a fireman or anyone 
else, for that matter, and you will have your hands full in short order. 

Crown Prince Frederick is married to the only daughter of 
Charles V, of Sweden. She inherited a large fortune from her 
mother and is active in all charity work. She is very domestic, is 
a consistent Christian, and has brought her family up as a Christian 
woman should. Their oldest son. Prince Christian, stands six 
feet high and resembles his grandfather, Charles XV. He is also 
married and has two sons. It will be seen, there are now three 
heirs to the Danish throne, living in Copenhagen, viz. : The 
Crown Prince Frederick, Prince Christian, his oldest son, and 
Prince Frederick, his grandson. Prince Christian married the 
daughter of the Prince Schamberg-Lippe of Germany; another 
son of Crown Prince Frederick is married to Princess Maud, 
daughter of King Edward VII of England, and holds an important 
command in the British Navy. One of three daughters, Inge- 
borg, is married to Prince Carl of Sweden, and the Swedes like her 
so well they call her "the sunshine." I saw her walking the 
streets of Stockholm with her husband and she spoke to old 
women and children as she passed along. 

They tell some good stories here about King Christian and 
Crown Prince Frederick. I will repeat two but do not vouch for 
their truth although they were told me by a reliable man. King 
Christian was walking the streets one day and spied a boy trying 
to reach the top of an electrical bell, he was not tall enough. 
The King asked him what he wanted and the boy said he wished 
to ring the bell. The King said, "I will ring the bell for you." 
As soon as the bell rung the boy said, "you better run," and 
scampered off as fast as he could. The King waited till the maid 
came and opened the door; raising his hat he said, "through a 
mistake the King of Denmark has called you and caused you the 
trouble of coming down; will you accept this compensation for 
your trouble?" The girl curtesied, thanked the King and on 
looking at what had been given her, found a 20 kroner bill. 


The ston- about the Crown Prince Frederick is, "That the 
American manager of a circus was here and, like all circus men, 
believed in advertising. One day he was driving in one of his 
most striking rigs and came to a place where dri\ing was pro- 
hibited. The guard stopped him and told him there was a fine 
of 20 kroner for what he had done. The circus man could not 
talk Danish or the guard English and they were having lots of 
trouble. Just then a gentlemen came along and heard the talk 
of both guard and prisoner. He explained to the American the 
situation. The American thanked him, paid his fine, and then 
turning to the gentleman said "you are a gentlemen so I will not 
offer to tip you but please take this 5 kroner note and have a 
drink with me." The gentleman took the money and they parted. 
A day or two afterward the American received word that the royal 
family would be there at a certain time to look at the horses. The 
showman was on hand in full dress to receive them and was hor- 
rified to find that the man to whom he had given the 5 kroner 
was the Cro\\Ti Prince. He apologized for what he had un- 
wittingly done and hoped no offense had been taken. The 
Prince assured him he was not offended and that he had put the 
5 kroner piece away as a souvenir of the meeting of a good Ameri- 

I had the pleasure of an invitation to call on His Royal High- 
ness, and had a long talk vdih him. On leaving he stepped up 
and shook hands and bid me good-night, after which he gave me 
a personal invitation to call on him before I left the city. I told 
him I left for home in a few days and he set the ho\ir for 1 1 o'clock 
yesterday when I might call. In his invitation to call he coupled 
it with an offer of a photograph of himself. 

On the following day, at the specified time, I was on hand. 
At the outer door, or rather inside of two glass doors that led into 
an ante-room, I found a number of military' officers in uniform, 
who all saluted. One came forward and inquired if I was the 
American gentleman who was expected to call on His Royal High- 


ness. I replied in the affirmative and as soon as that was done, 
was told that he would be ready to receive me very soon. I was 
requested to step into a waiting room and take a seat. I went in 
but was followed by the officer who met me at the door and who 
stayed and talked with me until the Prince was ready to receive 
me, which was about five minutes. I was then escorted to a door 
leading to the Prince's apartment. On entering the Prince's 
room, he met me at the door with outstretched hand. I talked 
with him a long time, principally about America. He was well 
posted about the United States. He asked me what I had seen 
at Copenhagen. I told him I had been at Roskelde Cathedral. 
Concerning that he asked me if I had seen his mother's coffin. 
I told him I had. In speaking of his mother, though a grand- 
father himself, I saw the tears glisten in his eyes. 

He is one of the most unassuming and pleasant men it has 
ever been my fortune to meet and all who have met him, say the 
same thing. When I met him at the Legation he, like all other 
gentlemen, was covered with medals and decorations, but when I 
met him at the Palace, he was dressed as an ordinary business 
man, not a particle of decoration in sight, simply dressed in a 
neat civilian suit. Before leaving, he showed me photographs 
of his wife, children and grand-children. He also presented me 
with a large photograph of himself, with his autograph and date 
and requested me to take it to America with me, which I will 
surely do. He also extended an invitation to call on him again 
should I ever come to Copenhagen. 

I also met Prince Hans (a brother of the King), he is 77 years 
old, but sprightly and lively as a young man. They all speak 
English fluently as well as all the European languages. It will 
be seen that while Denmark is one of the smallest of the European 
countries, she is connected by marriage and blood relation with all 
the reigning families of all the European countries. 

It is here you can see royalty at its best in the summer time. 
Here is where they all gather and lay away the cares of state and 


formalities. From the middle of May until late in the fall you will 
find kings and queens, emperors and empresses and their children 
riding, boating, playing golf and tennis, walking without an escort. 
In other words, you will see them at their very best, free from 
restraint. Here they are safe, there are no anarchists or socialists 
here to endanger their lives. The Emperor of Russia, when here, 
although a giant in size, was a veritable boy and was very fond of 
riding on the cars. He would sit and talk to anyone who could 
be found to talk to and nothing pleased him so much as when he 
could find a lot of youngsters to have a frolic with. Much more 
might be written but I fear this letter is already too long for your- 
self and your readers. 

Amsterdam, Holland, March 10, 1901. 
Pioneer Press: 

In my first letter to your paper I gave my first impressions of 
what I had seen on my way to Europe and have continued doing 
so from time to time. I am now on my way home and will, as 
far as space permits, tell your readers what I have so far seen in 
Germany, Holland and Belgium, and what I will see in France. 
I am aware that the countries and cities I shall try to tell about 
have been written up thousands of times but each receives a dif- 
ferent impression of what they see. 

After leaving Copenhagen I went to Rossor, where I took the 
German steamer. Prince Adelbert for Kiel — in Holstein — now 
a part of the German Empire. There I took the German Imperial 
Railway for Hamburg. Hamburg is a city of 700,000 inhabitants, 
and they claim they will soon have 1,000,000. It is, and has been 
for centuries, a very important commercial and financial city. 
The new, or rather the reconstructed part, has wide streets, paved 
with asphalt and granite. The older portion still has its aspect 
of venerable age. Many of the buildings have each story project 
out on the street beyond the story below. The streets are well 
lighted. In front of the Hotel Kronpritzen, where I stopped. 


there are electric lights only loo feet apart. The same applies 
to some of the streets although it does not apply to the whole city. 
Electric street cars run in all directions, thus making transporta- 
tion cheap, rapid and easy. I next took the Government railway 
to Berlin. In going from Hamburg to Berlin, I had to pass the 
estate of the late Prince Bismarck, at Frederickruch, and on the 
left, through the trees, you catch a glimpse of his old home. The 
estate is very large and is said to contain the largest and best 
hunting grounds in all Germany. 

The country between Hamburg and Berlin is generally low and 
a large proportion forest. The greater part of which is pine, the 
other evergreen, thus indicating that the land is not of the best 
quality for farming. About 5 miles out you come to extensive 
fortifications. The same applies to all sides of the city. I will 
not take up your time trying to describe Berlin. Others, more 
able than myself, have done so repeatedly, but I will try to tell 
you what I saw "unter de linden," they have all read about. 
It is a street, fully 200 feet wide, and until you get to the Palace 
and other government buildings, there is a double row of trees 
in the center. To a stranger, the palace is of course, the center 
of attraction although it is not so imposing as some of the public 
buildings. It is a large, two story, plain building, and at each 
entrance are stationed two sentinels. Facing the palace on 
" Unter de Linden " street, stands the Academy of Arts. Next 
to that is the Academy of Music and back of that is the Finance 
Department. Further on is Arsand Avenue and beyond that is 
a large Lutheran Cathedral. On the other street, facing the palace, 
is the National Theatre and near there is a large Catholic Cathe- 
dral. The palace is flanked on either side by banks. On both 
streets, fronting the palace, are numerous monuments, the most 
imposing being that of Frederick the Great, in bronze and on 
horseback. "Unter de Linden" is paved with asphalt, no street 
cars on it. A few other streets arc also paved with asphalt but 
the principal paving is granite. 


Berlin, like Hamburg, is well supplied with electric lights and 
street cars as well as elevated cars. Omnibuses are also run on 
the principal streets. I also saw automobiles, the first I had 
seen in Europe. WTien I was in Stockholm I thought they had 
lots of soldiers but they are ' 'not in it " with Berlin. Almost every 
other man has a uniform of some kind but there are many callings 
which use uniforms of different kind, and it takes some time to tell 
the difference between soldiers and those who are not. 

Leaving Berlin for this city, which takes 12 hours, we pass 
through generally low and flat country, with here and there a hill 
to break the monotony. Like between Hamburg and Berlin, 
much of the land is forest. Some of it is planted and the greater 
part is pine or evergreen trees. The soil, until you get into Hol- 
land, is very poor, principally sand, yet under a high state of cul- 
tivation. The farm buildings, like in Denmark, are low, built 
of brick, with stables. In all cases the house and stable are not 
under one roof although a great many are. I saw no pastures. 
Stock of all kinds is kept indoors all the year and the offal care- 
fully saved to put on the land. 

The city of Amsterdam is a city of canals. Nearly all the 
streets having a canal running through the center, with large 
shade trees on each side and drive ways, from 30 to 60 feet wide. 
The bridges crossing the canals are nearly all steel arch. The 
space through which vessels are to pass is planked and can be 
easily raised and lowered. The side walks are generally of vitri- 
fied brick and the streets are paved with granite, although asphalt 
is beginning to come into use. 

Last week was a week of celebration and rejoicing. The 
young queen, Wilhelmina, and her husband were here until 10 
o'clock yesterday and the city, when I arrived, was one mass of 
colors, streamers and garlands on buildings, trees and on the 
canals as well as the bridges. I had the pleasure of seeing the 
queen as she was being driven to the station. 

Amsterdam owns its water works, electric light and gas plants 


and took possession of the street cars last January. It also owns 
the telephones, and officials with whom I talked say it is not only 
cheaper, but that it gets better service than where these natural 
monopolies were owned and controlled by private corporations. 
Amsterdam is a city of over 500,000 inhabitants and one of the 
wealthiest cities in Europe. There are millions of Amsterdam 
capital invested in the United States. It was the capitalists of 
this city who furnished the money to build the first railroad in 
Minnesota, viz. : The St. Paul and Pacific, now a part of the Great 
Northern System. 

I called on Hon. Frank D. Hill, of Minneapolis, the United 
States consul here. He has been for years in the consular ser- 
vice in South America and like all the representatives I have met, 
is a gentleman who understands his business, is very popular, 
and looking after the business of the United States. I am under 
many obligations to Consul Hill for courtesies and information. 
He took me to the Reyks Museum where, among other paintings, 
I saw one by Rembrandt, "The Night Watch," for which there is a 
standing offer of 5,000,000 franks any time the citizens feel dis- 
posed to part with it. I was also taken to the house Rembrandt 
was born in. It is still standing as when the great painter lived 
in it. I saw the new Bourse, post office building, the National 
Theatre and many other buildings too numerous to mention. One 
of these houses attracted my attention for the use to which it is put. 
It is the Postal Savings Bank. 12 years ago the Dutch govern- 
ment established a Postal Savings Bank, and that bank now has 
on deposit 80,000,000 guilders. A guilder, by the way, is 40 

Consul Hill informs me that Holland is the largest diamond, 
tobacco, and chinchona market in the world. That Holland is the 
third in the list of importers of American goods in Europe. Great 
Britain is first, Germany second, Holland third, and France 
fourth. The importation of American goods into Holland last 
year was $83,000,000, while into France it was $1,000,000 less. 


I forgot to say, in the proper place, that the street cars are still 
run by horse power but the city council has appropriated 6,000,000 
guilders to change electric cars and for a power plant, and 
Consul Hill thinks the power plant will be furnished by American 
manufacturers. The Dutch are very friendly to the United States 
and like our goods. 

All sewage enters into the canals and each night the canals 
are cleaned out by hydraulic pressure and refilled with fresh water. 
Citizens will get angry if anyone suggests that the canals breed 
malaria but they do, just the same. In the summer the odor 
from some of the canals becomes quite offensive. 

Brussels, Belgium, March 12, 1901. 
Pioneer Press: 

In my investigation in Europe of cities which have adopted 
the municipal ownership of public industries, the one which so 
far I have had time to examine most fully, Amsterdam, Holland, 
is an ideal city. It not only owns and operates the water 
works, gas and electric lighting plants but on January ist last, 
it took possession of the street-car system and the city council 
made an appropriation of 6,000,000 guilders ($2,400,000) to 
change from horse to electric power, and for the erection of a 
power plant. 

This assumption on the part of Amsterdam of these natural 
monopolies has not been a spasmodic affair by any means. 
It has been one thing at a time and that has been tested and found 
satisfactory before the next one was added. Mr. Robinson, the 
British consvd, who was managing director of the water works 
when in private hands, admits that not only is the service better 
but the rates are much lower under municipal ownership. 

Gotheburg, Sweden, comes next to Amsterdam as a municipal 
ownership city. It has just bought out the street railway corpora- 
tions and will change from horse to electric power as soon after it 
takes possession as possible. Aside from telephones, it owns and 


operates, or soon will, all the real profits on the sale of liquors as 
I have explained in a former letter. 

I have investigated the question of municipal taxes and am 
now in a position to give your readers a little more information 
on that most important subject. Consul G. W. Roosevelt, (a 
cousin of Vice-President Roosevelt), located here, is my authority. 
In addition to assessing all real and personal property as in the 
United States, they levy what they call "extraordinary taxes". 
The tenant is taxed for living in a rented house, in addition to the 
tax paid by the owner. Each door and window in every house 
pays a tax in addition to the water rent. And the same can be 
said of the gas and electricity. Every animal and vehicle is taxed, 
in addition to the regular tax, business of all kinds pays a license. 
All servants arc taxed, men servants pay a tax of 20 marks and 
maid servants about half that amount. There is also an inherit- 
ance tax and when one dies, a tax must be paid to get one out of 
the way. In the purchase of real estate you must pay 10 per cent 
in addition to the purchase price, to the government. 

Consul Roosevelt assured me that the same system prevails 
in France, Germany and Holland. I thought that in Sweden, 
Norway and Denmark taxes were very high, but they do not begin 
to touch the countries named in this letter. I have also the statis- 
tics of this city, Copenhagen, Glasgow, Manchester, Stockholm, 
and some others, but have not had time to analyze them as yet. 

Paris, March 13, 1901. 
Pioneer Press: 

I am now in many respects in the most wonderful city in the 
world. A city that if it could talk could tell of more intrigue 
than any half dozen cities on earth. It was here that Napoleon 
placed his cannons in the street to quell the Paris mob. It was 
here that the terrible Robespierre sent thousands to the guillotine 
and it was here, a few years ago, the Paris mob destroyed some of 
the finest buildings on earth and works of art that it had taken 


centuries to accumulate; and that same mob, or its successor, is 
liable to repeat history on the slightest provocation. No one can 
tell at what moment the Parisians may take it into their heads to 
overthrow the existing order of affairs. While Paris has only 
about 10 per cent of the population of France (3,500,000), the 
fact remains that Paris absolutely controls France. 

I spoke of the first Napoleon. While he was the greatest 
military despot the world has ever known, he was (and was in his 
life time) the idol of the French people. Go where you please in 
the city and you find monuments in marble and brass erected to 
his memory. The same applies to the picture galleries. While 
this is true of Napoleon I, the same cannot be said of Napoleon 
III. It is seldom you see anything which tends to commemorate 
the Third Empire or hear his name mentioned. While the name of 
Napoleon I will set almost any of the Parisians wild. 

Near where I am stopping (the Continental Hotel), by the 
way, the finest hotel I have ever seen, are the Gardens of the 
Tuileres, the JMuseum Louvre and the Statue Vendome. The 
garden is a large park and the River Seine running on one side. 
It is different from most parks I have seen in that, except for 
a few small plots of grass the park is gravelled to keep the grass 
from growing and there are no signs, "Keep off the grass," to be 
seen. The Statue Vendome is the center of the Place Vendome 
and is about 125 feet high and about 20 feet at the base, tapering 
to about 8 feet at the summit, surmounted by a colossal figure. 
It is made, except the granite base, of cannons captured by 
Napoleon I from the Austrians at the battle of Jena. 

I have read of Paris but by so doing could never form any idea 
of how everything actually is. I could fill pages in telling what 
I have seen but it has been written and rewritten so often that I 
shall not take up your space, at least not this time, I will reserve the 
balance for some of the things I saw between here and Amsterdam. 
I left Amsterdam the loth, with Consul Hill and went to the 
Hague where I stopped at the Hotel du Vieux Docton. This is 


probably the oldest hotel in Europe. I was told by the manage- 
ment that it has been used as a place of entertainment since 1385, 
more than 100 years before Columbus discovered America. 
While at the Hague I called on our minister, Hon. Stanford 
Newell of St. Paul, where we spent some hours in talking over our 
Northwestern matters and mutual acquaintances. He is very 
anxious to see the duty on bulbs abolished, it cannot be a protective 
duty. Last year it was only $26,000. There is no place in the 
world where they produce such bulbs as near Harlem, Holland, 
and it is only such as cannot be produced elsewhere that are 
exported. Such bulbs as are grown in New Jersey and other 
states of the union are not exported. It would seem that the 
Northwest, at least, should be willing to abolish the duty in view 
of the fact that Holland last year imported $11,000,000 worth of 
American flour. 

Between the Hague and Brussels, I passed through several 
large cities, among the most important were Schneidam and 
Potterdam, Holland, and Antwerp, Belgium. At Brussels I 
called on Consul G. W. Roosevelt, the Minister was out of the 
city. In my letter from Brussels I speak more fully of the informa- 
tion which I received from Consul Roosevelt. 

I forgot in my Brussels letter to say that Consul Roosevelt was 
Captain in the 26th Pennsylvania volunteers and lost a leg at 
Gettysburg, and holds a medal of honor voted him by Congress. 
It will be seen that "Teddy" comes from fighting stock. 

Brussels seems to me to be the poorest governed city I have 
ever seen. I only spent one night there but I saw more drunken 
men on the streets than I saw in 8 weeks in Sweden, Norway and 
Denmark combined. The country between here and Amsterdam 
is about as I have described between Berlin and Amsterdam. 

London, England, March 18, 1901. 
Pioneer Press: 

When I wrote my last letter I mentioned many interesting 

things I had seen up to the time of writing. On the 14th they 


had what the Parisians are pleased to term a Mid-winter carnival, 
and made it a sort of a holiday. The newspapers had big head- 
lines as to what time a grand parade was to pass the Opera 
House. At the time named, mounted police cleared the way for 
the parade and thousands waited — I among the number — to 
witness what I expected would be nice, but in vain. There was 
not to exceed 10 floats in all. The papers the next morning tried 
to explain the failure but without success. If we will not have 
one 20 times as good in Fargo at the fire festival, I shall disown 
Fargo in the future. 

While walking along Boulevard I'Opera one day, who should 
I meet but Mr. and Mrs. Alex. Stern of Fargo. They are stopping 
at the Belleview while I am at the Continental and neither knew 
the other was in Paris. I also met Mrs. John Gunn, a sister of 
Senator McDougal of Mandan, N. D. 

London ! What shall I say of London, the largest city on earth ? 
And until recently, the financial center of the world. That dis- 
tinction has been wrested from it by New York and fiity years 
from to-day, Chicago — wish I dared say Fargo — will have 
wrested it from New York, and with it the distinction of being 
the largest city in the world. 

All have read of Charing Cross Station, the Black Friars and 
other bridges spanning the Thames ; also of the churches, cathe- 
drals and parliament houses and other noted buildings. I will 
try and tell your readers how these buildings impressed me. St. 
Paul's awed me more for its immensity than its grandeur, West- 
minster Abbey for its historical associations. I attended divine 
service there. Within its halls are the remains of many of Eng- 
land's kings, warrriors, statesmen and others who have helped 
to make England's history. 

I had also the opportunity of inspecting the two chambers — 
the house of lords and the house of commons — in the Parliament 
Building. The building or rather, buildings, are located on very 
valuable real estate. No doubt at the time of their construction 


they were great; but, like many things in Europe, they are out of 
date. Both chambers are small, dark and seemingly uncomfort- 
able. The members of both houses sit on benches at the side 
of the chamber, the rear ones being raised above the ones in front, 
something like I have seen children in the country school houses 
in the west. The cushions in the House of Lords are covered 
with scarlet and the House of Commons have black coverings. 
I was told by the policeman in charge that the House of Com- 
mons has 670 members, of which Ireland has 103, and there is, 
at the present time, in the House of Lords, 450 members, includ- 
ing bishops or spiritual lords, as they are called. 

On the evening of the 15th inst., I attended one of the most 
unique Masonic Lodges in the world. It is called Jubilee Masters' 
Lodge, No. 2712, of London, England. The membership is 
composed entirely of actual past masters and the members must 
join while actually presiding in the East. No one is eligible to 
membership before he becomes a M. M. or after he becomes a 
P. M. All visitors must be either Masters for the time being or 
Past Masters. This most interesting of all Masonic Lodges, that 
it has been my good fortune to visit, had an installation of officers 
and after the installation, a banquet, with speeches, recitations 
and songs, the telling of stories, etc., until about 11 p. m. The 
ceremonies took place in Victoria Hall. The following were the 
officers installed: Edmund R. Hartley, M. M., Irme Kirdley, 
Intermediate, P. M. ; Richard Lee Franks, S. W. ; James Alfred 
Sheldon, J. W. ; Wm. Singleton Hooper, Treas. ; J. D. Langton, 
Sec'y; Octave Lamar, S. D.; Geo. Helmore Jones, J. D.; 
Alfred Streeter, Inner Guard; Frederick Varley, Dis. of Cirs.; 
Henry Charles Lonsdale, Richard Cato Bayne, Henry John 
Davis, Stewards, and R. F. Potter, Tyler. 

On Saturday, the 23d, the mayors of the leading cities of 
Great Britain will meet to discuss municipal matters in this city. 
I have been honored with an invitation to attend the meeting, but 
having already engaged my passage and stateroom reserved for 


me, I will leave Liverpool the 21st. Much to my regret I was 
compelled to decline the invitation. This will be my last letter 
to you from Europe. 


I hardly know how to describe San Francisco in a few words 
but will do the best I can. 

The city is situated upon the elevated head of a peninsula, 
bordered on the eastern side by the Bay of San Francisco, the west 
by the Pacific, which extends southward for 50 miles; however, 
not all this is under the control of this municipality. Approxi- 
mately, San Francisco has an area of 220 square miles, and the 
exterior bounds fixed by the waters of bay and ocean, cover a 
mile wide, and not less than 40 miles in length. The population 
of the city and suburbs is 450,000. 

Entering the city on a ferry boat, the first thing that greets 
the eye, are the ships and boats anchored in the Bay. Then the 
wharves that are built upon lines, which involve ocean-carrying 
for the Pacific world. The Ferry House is a magnificent struc- 
ture, passing through this you come on to the broad street where 
there are street cars, horse cars and all manner of vehicles to 
convey you any place you wish to go. 

There are the manufactures to anticipate wants that will arise 
when the Orient awakens, commercial houses, banking houses, 
halls of justice, where it is some times dealt to the unjust, 
churches enough to save the entire world. Of fine hotels, private 
boarding houses and restaurants, San Francisco has an unlimited 
supply. It has been said that anything in the line of gastronomy 
can be procured in this city. 

The Palace Hotel, where I stopped is one of the most mag- 
nificent structures ever dedicated to the needs of the traveling 

Spreckles' Rotisserie, fifteenth floor of the Call Building, is one 


of the luncheon places of the city. From the floor of the cafe, there 
is an unobstructed view of the entire city,^ay and surrounding 
country. North, east, south and west the eye beholds a panorama 
of still life and active nature and art. 

Leaving the business portion of the city and the dead level 
of the commercial district, you come to the residence hills, of 
which there are loo. They are attained by street-cars, cable and 
electric cars. Every hill is covered with buildings in endless 
variety, some of them sumptuous, and all of them ideal homes. 
Still farther on we come to Golden Gate Park and Cliff House. 
The park, with its magnificent scenery and beautiful statuary. 
Trees and flowers wherever the eye may rest. Then Cliff House, 
the grand old ocean in front, the waves booming on the rocks. 
There you also see the famous seal rocks, sometimes literally 
covered with seals, then at times none will appear. Next comes 
the noted Sutro Baths, the finest in the world. Erected by years 
of labor and costing many dollars. 

I have written before of the trip through Chinatown, of the 
beautiful and wonderful sights and then again of others that mean 
more horror than it would be possible to believe could exist in 

After three days spent in San Francisco, we proceeded to Los 
Angeles, the supposed Mecca of California. The population of 
this city is 175,000. The full and original title of this place was 
"Puebla la Reina de Los Angeles," this well befitted the lazy 
Spaniard, who had all the time in the world and could spend half 
of the same, in naming his residence. But the Anglo-Saxon had 
no time to waste thus, so it was cut to "The Angeles" and so 

It was founded September 4, 1781, with 12 families, in all 46 
persons. It will possibly embrace Santa Monica and perhaps 
San Pedro in time. 

No city of modern time is better known, built on lines of beauty, 
with curves and angles, streets cleanly, traversed by street cars. 


Attractive parks, inviting rest. Stately municipal buildings and 
streets supported by high class business blocks. 

Santa Monica is 17 miles from Los Angeles. Is the most 
valued suburban resort, not less so because of proximity, than 
varied merits. The location is an elevated bluff of the ocean, 
and has the usual adjuncts of popular vi^atering places. 

Pasadena is but 12 miles from Los Angeles. The city of Pasa- 
dena must be seen to be fully appreciated. From the station of 
the Southern Pacific Railway, an electric car can be taken to 
Mount Lov/e. A cable incline railway takes you to "Echo 
Mountain House," 3,500 feet above sea level. Then by rail, 
1,500 feet to "Ye Alpine Tavern," where suitable refreshments 
can be procured. A movement is on foot to extend the rails from 
the "Tavern" to the summit. From base to crest, Mount Lowe 
is 6,000 feet. 

San Pedro is distant from Los Angeles about 22 miles. The 
air and salt breeze which greets one at the wharf at San Pedro, are 
very refreshing, but after boarding the little steamer for Avalon, 
on the Island of Santa Catalina, some of the passengers do not 
seem to appreciate the same breeze. In all directions wherever 
you may look, there are woebegone faces, caused by a choppy 
sea. I shall never forget one man who certainly thought his last 
day had come, when he stood it as long as possible and then said, 
"O, God, if you will get me safe to shore I will never bother you 
again." Avalon is three hours' sail from San Pedro. The waters 
about the islands teem with every form of marine and piscal life, 
here you can get the glass bottomed boats in which you can take a 
trip and see the bottom of the ocean. 

Journeying back to San Francisco, are many beautiful places. 
There is San Luis Obispo. This beautiful city may well be named 
Obispo, resting securely at the base of a mitred mountain peak. 
The site covers a large area. In the very heart of the city are the 
walls and altar of the Mission, San Luis Obispo de Tolosa, con- 
secrated by Serra on September i, 1772. A visit to the Mission 


would be a benediction to everyone. Then there are the Santa 
Ysabel Hot Springs, where you can receivejhe wonderful sulphur 

Within 6 miles of Monterey are more objects of sacred, historic, 
and scenic interest than can be found in any similar area in Cali- 
fornia. Along these shores Cabrillo coasted in 1542 and Novem- 
ber 15th, named the land "Cabo de Rinos" and the waters "Bahia 
de las Pinoas." In 1603, Sebastian Vizcaino discovered Carmel 
River on December 14th, and on the i6th, rounded Punta de 
Pinos and landed at Monterey. In 1770, on June 3rd, Junipero 
Serra founded Mission San Carlos Borromeo, on a spot on the 
beach, and within the limits of the present municipality. Under 
renovations, the Mission still retains its original lines. The ashes 
of Serra and of some of his beloved fraters repose beneath the al- 
tar. The form that Serra established, 130 years ago, still contin- 
ues in celebration of High Mass, once a year. A monument to his 
memory, the gift of Leland Stanford, occupies a commanding 
place in the city suburbs overlooking the bay. 

The Hotel Del Monte is one of the show places of California. 

Santa Cruz is one of the summer resorts of the state, where 
ocean bathing can be indulged in with safety. 

The "Big Trees" are about 5 miles from Santa Cruz. They 
are secjuoia semper virens (redwood) and belong to a class that has 
been, and still is, a large factor in the lumbering interests of the 
Pacific Coast. Some of them, as they stand, have hollows in their 
base, equal to sheltering a family. 

Of San Jose I have written before ; the city I like best of all. 

California must be seen to be appreciated and to do so would 
take three months. 

Writings and Addresses 

Writings and Addresses 

Fargo, December 7, 1888. 

It gives me great pleasure to meet wath you this evening to 
assist at the opening of one of the best hotels that Fargo has ever 
had. Thanks to mine host Kissner and some of our far-seeing 
business men. 

My only regret is that being expected to reply to the toast, just 
presented by your toastmaster — it will not be fittingly done. 
The City of Fargo, is a subject that deserves the eloquence of a 
Clay or a Webster to do it justice and not one who is unaccus- 
tomed to public speaking. 

Fargo — that we are all so proud of — and I think we have 
good cause for being so, is by all odds head and shoulders above 
any other city that I have seen in everything that goes to make up 
a thriving western city. We can all look with pride to the progress 
we have made even in these hard times. Look on every hand 
and you will find evidences of prosperity. You will find handsome 
business blocks and elegant residences going up in every part of 
the city. While some of our would be rivals have stood still or 
gone backwards, Fargo, like a young giantess, has pursued her 
steady and irresistible march of progress that Nature intended 
her to make in this New Golden Northwest. 

Some of us can remember the time when the land upon which 
this building stands was as we then thought, way out on the 
prairies. There was nothing north of here and very little south, till 
you crossed the Northern Pacific tracks. I well remember when I 
first came here, I wanted to see a man who I was told boarded 
at the Farmers' Home. I inquired the way and was told to go 



loo J. A. JOHNSON 

north on Broadway till I found it, which I did and on reaching it, 
thought it well named. It seemed to be half way to Grand Forks. 
There were neither sidewalks, crosswalks or any other way to get 
to it, only wade through the mud, and being in the spring of the 
year, was knee deep. Now note the difference! You can find 
handsome brick blocks lining both sides of the street, with side- 
walks, cross-walks, sewers, etc. While if you have occasion to go 
to any part of the city at night, you will find the streets brilliantly 
lighted with electricity, making them light as day, while the city 
is protected by a splendid system of water works, that is further 
enhanced by as fine a body of volunteer firemen as ever lived. 

In 1880, Fargo had but one line of railway; now we have 
three independent systems, with branches radiating in all direc- 
tions, making the city like the hub of a wheel, with the different 
railway lines forming the spokes. At that time there were 6 
passenger trains that arrived and departed daily, now there are 
26, and freight trains have increased in the same ratio. At that 
time Cass County had but 40 miles of railroad track within its 
borders, now it has over 200 miles. At that time Fargo had a 
population of 2,700, and a good many were not residents, in fact, 
while last spring we had over 8,200 and we have increased steadily 
ever since. At that time 207 pupils attended the public schools 
now there are 1,049 i^ attendance. Then the assessed valuation 
of Fargo was $524,035; in 1885 it was $4,444,450. Everything 
else has kept pace with our increase in population as can be seen 
by going into any of our machine shops, wagon shops, mills, etc., 
where you will find hundreds of mechanics at work ; or into our 
banks or mercantile houses, where you will find small armies of 
clerks in the various departments of their immense business. 

Eastern capitalists and manufacturers appreciate our import- 
ance as can be seen by the immense warehouses they have built 
and placed resident managers therein, to attend to their business 
from the whole northwest. 

We must not forget that a very large part of all this is due to 

Each to Himself — 'Now, That's Meant for a 'Josh' on One of 
Us — But Which One, I Wonder!" 




the excellence of our daily and weekly newspapers. I desire to 
bear testimony to the fact that no city has ever had more earnest 
workers in its behalf than Fargo has in her newspaper men, or, 
take it all in all, better conducted papers. They have as a 
rule been hard worked and poorly paid, and not half appreciated, 
though they will be as time rolls on and I trust that they will receive 
their reward for their labors. 

While some of our sister cities were fighting for the political 
capital of Dakota, our wideawake business men put their shoul- 
ders to the wheel and their hands in their pocketbooks and built 
another line of railway and laid the foundation for the commercial 
capital. A prize that is worth more than all the political hubbub 
you can get, and the more you get of it the worse you are off. 
Politics never built a city. There is only one class of business 
benefited by the gathering of political or legislative bodies, as 
our sister city, Bismarck, has found to her sorrow. While we have 
been spared the fearful tax, or contribution, if you please to call 
it by that name, that it has cost to secure the soap bubble they 
call the Capital of Dakota. 

We have cause to be proud of Fargo in all its departments. 
The fire department cannot be excelled anywhere, it protects 
our property from destruction by fire while our vigilant police 
protect it and our persons from thieves, burglars and other crim- 
inals. I can truthfully say that no other city in the Union is better 
protected by its police and fire department. They have so con- 
ducted themselves that we are spared the humiliation that has 
lately befallen one of our eastern neighbors of having its police 
and other oflScers investigated on account of misdoings and short- 

We have special cause to feel proud of our schools and churches. 
Our schools would be an honor to many eastern cities of 50,000. 
The buildings are all that modern science can devise or archi- 
tectural beauty suggest on the exterior, while the interior is ar- 
ranged for the health and comfort of the pupils; and our corps 


of teachers would be a credit in the faculties of Yale or Harvard. 
When our children shall receive their diplomas from our high 
school, they will be as far advanced as they would be had they 
attended some of the so-called eastern colleges and be prepared 
to battle successfully with the world, the flesh and the devil. 

While the city has done nobly to prepare the youth for its 
struggle in life, our people have been mindful of their religious 
welfare as well; as can be seen by going into any of our ten 
churches and listening to as earnest and eloquent men as you will 
find anywhere. And where men from nearly all nations can go and 
listen to the teachings of the lowly Nazarine in their native tongue. 

Our schools and churches are sure indications to strangers that 
we are a moral and law-abiding people, and these observations 
are borne out bv the facts, and are the surest evidences of our 
permanent prosperity. We all have faith in Fargo as can be seen 
on every hand. It is safe to say that in no other city of equal 
population, will you find so many families who live in homes that 
they own — and so few who live in tenement houses and hotels. 
And you will find residences in some portions of the city that would 
be ornaments in the most fashionable streets of New York, Boston, 
or any other eastern city. 

Such is our loved Fargo, though not destined like Canaan of 
old, to flow with milk and honey, still may she continue to prosper 
and cause this fertile country — so lately stigmatized by govern- 
ment officers as an uninhabitable desert — to bloom and blossom 
like the rose. 


Fargo, July 21, 1896. 

I am under obligations to Mr. Christianson for the invitation 
to meet you here and greet you and welcome you to the city, and 
I fully appreciate that honor. 


In olden days in many parts of Europe it was customary to 
present distinguished visitors like yourselves with the keys of the 
city, but unfortunately our keys were destroyed in the great fixe 
of 1893, and we have been so busy since then that we have not had 
time to have others made. And I do not know that we want any 
keys anyway ; having keys would indicate a desire to lock some- 
one out and that is not What we want. We want you all to come 
in and see our city, with its streets, its stores, its places of busi- 
ness, its waterworks system, its fire department. We want you 
to see what we have done in Fargo since the great fire, and for that 
reason we do not want any keys to lock anybody out. We want 
you all to feel at home and enjoy your visit here, so that when you 
leave the city you will have nothing but pleasant recollections of 
your sojoiirn in our city. I know that your Fargo brethren will 
do all they can to make it so. I thank you very much for the 
honor afforded me, in bidding you welcome and I wish that I was 
able to give you the address that you should have, but not being 
an orator I am unable to do so, and you will have to take the good 
will for the deed. Gentlemen, I thank you and bid you welcome 
to Fargo. 


Fargo, December 29, 1896. 

The honor conferred upon me by inviting me to bid you wel- 
come to the city is one fully appreciated by myself. 

Of all conventions and public gatherings that have honored us 
with their presence in 1896, it is fitting that the last should be the 
most distinguished. 

We have had in the past year many conventions, conferences 
and meetings of societies, political and commercial bodies, who 
have met here for the purpose of exchanging grettings and for 
mutual improvement and protection, and it is eminently proper 
that you should do the same. I feel that you meeting with us 

104 J. A. JOHNSON 

during the closing days of the year, will confer greater honor on 
our city and county, than has any one ofjhe public gatherings 
that have taken place here in years. 

The profession you have chosen is one of the noblest God has 
given man ; that of educating the young and making the ignorant 
intelligent. Your work is all elevating and the refining of the 
human mind and faculties, developing the mind of the child from 
its infancy, educating it and preparing it to take its part in the 
battle of life, knowing that when it starts out it will have, so far 
as education is concerned, an equal if not superior standing with 
those who have preceded it. 

In your everyday life, as teachers, you require and have to 
exercise the utmost patience, first in teaching the child obedience 
to the proper rules laid down for its government and next, to the 
beginning of its education. But I am inclined to believe that 
you require even greater patience when the scholar has passed the 
elementary classes and begins the higher studies, for it is then 
your work really begins to show and if you fail, then all the patience 
and perseverance will have been for naught. Later, as the scholar 
advances, you become personally interested and watch its progress 
and take almost as much interest in the development as though the 
scholar was your own flesh and blood. When the final day comes, 
that teacher and scholar must part, you feel very much as if you were 
parting from a near and dear relative. Even then you do not lose 
sight of the scholar but keep a watchful eye over him and if you 
ever can, by counsel or advice, aid you will go a long way to do so. 

No pains, trouble or expense will deter you from giving aid 
or comfort to any of your old scholars if they come to you in dis- 
tress. In addition to this you must keep yourself abreast of the 
times, and keep yourself posted on all matters that pertain to your 
profession; changes in the methods of teaching, like all other 
professions, are constantly advancing. The one that fails to keep 
up in his or her studies will soon find him or herself out of employ- 
ment and relegated to the rear. 


It has been my privilege to \isit educational institutions in 
various parts of the worid and it gives me great pleasure to be 
able to say, without flatter}^ that I have never seen any schools 
superior to the ones we have in North Dakota, and very few that 
were their equals. As far as the teachers, as a class, they cannot 
be excelled in any part of the world. 

If you will pardon me, I will try to describe a school I once 
visited in British Honduras. I was strolling along the streets of 
Belize one afternoon, and in passing one of the buildings, I heard 
the worst babel of voices I had ever heard. Supposing something 
was ^^Tong I stepped to the door which was ajar and looked in. 
The teacher, a large, muscular Scotchman, saw me and bade me 
enter, which I was glad to do. I found about 50 pupils of all 
ages from the little toddler who could hardly walk, to the full 
grown young man and woman, of all colors, from the flaxen 
haired Saxon to the coal black African, all shouting at the tops 
of their voices as they studied their lessons. As I entered — as 
was natural — some of the pupils stopped shouting but the 
"professor," as the scholars called him, would not permit it and 
told them to resume their studies. I tried to ascertain his methods 
but there was such a noise I failed, became discouraged and quit. 

I have also visited the National University in Caracas, Vene- 
zula, and there I found just the reverse of what I did in Belize. 
You could stay in the room for a whole session and unless the pro- 
fessor called up a class or one of the pupils wished something, you 
could hear a pin drop at any time. I think you will agree with 
me that the Caracas system was the best of the two I saw in the 

But I know that you have not come here to listen to me or to 
hear me tell you what I may have seen in my wanderings, but to 
attend to the matters that have called you so I will not detain you 
any longer. In the name of Fargo and as its executive I bid you 
welcome and trust that your stay with us will be both pleasant 
and profitable to you ; that when you leave us you will take nothing 

io6 J. A. JOHNSON 

but pleasant recollections with you and that you will make Fargo 
your permanent meeting place. Ladies and gentlemen, I thank 
you for the attention you have given me and the honor you have 
conferred on me. 


Columbus, Ohio, September 29, 1897. 

Mr. President and gentlemen of the convention : The subject 
assigned to me, " Uniformity of State Laws pertaining to Municipal 
Government" is one that I can say with truth, should have been 
assigned to someone with more experience in municipal affairs 
than I am. Someone from some large city, where the opportunity 
for observation is much greater than in a frontier town of 15,000 
like Fargo. I tried to get the committee in charge of the arrange- 
ments of this convention, to let me off, warning them at the time 
that I coud not do justice to the subject, but they would not excuse 
me so you will see that whatever criticism you may have of an 
unfavorable nature as to anything I may have to say, I can fall 
back on Mayor Black and the Secretary and say, "I told you so." 

I do not know as this great convention, representing, as it does, 
the executive and legislative branches of the leading cities of the 
United States, care to have even a suggestion from me, but if you 
will not take offense, I would suggest that uniformity of laws, 
pertaining to municipalities and municipal government can be 
obtained in only one way and, in my opinion, it is a very easy way. 
If this convention will appoint a committee from different states, 
they will probably agree upon all the leading subjects in which 
we are all interested, and, if you will pardon me, I ^vill mention 
some of them: The police power of cities, the suppression of 
gambling exhibited in different forms, the suppression of the 
social evil, or, if it is found it cannot be suppressed, the controlling 


of it in such a way as to make the evil at its minimum. The 
reformation of prisoners, arrested and convicted of offences by 
city courts, and sentenced to the house of correction, work houses 
and houses of detention. The paving and otherwise improving 
the streets, garbage and street cleaning. The ownership by cities 
of lighting and water works plants, the granting of franchises at 
various times, and the rex^enues to be derived from same. 

In my mind these, and such other subjects as the committee 
could consider, would be productive of much good. On a small 
scale, we tried this plan in North Dakota last year, with excellent 
results. The representatives of the leading towns met and ex- 
changed views as to what each wanted, and the result was, we 
adopted committees to draw up laws on the line agreed upon, 
appointed a committee to take them to the legislature, and we 
found no difficulty in having them passed and improved, and the 
results have already been beneficial. To my mind, there is no 
greater subject, or one of more vital importance to the American 
people to-day, than municipal government and one of the best 
ways to secure the best result would be to have uniform laws in 
all the states. There are a great many matters that we can all 
agree upon, that New York, Chicago and other large cities, need 
as badly as a place like Fargo, and cities between those in import- 

What all cities need are laws that will make it impossible to 
form rings and combinations to control them. These rings and 
combinations always breed corruption, and one of the best safe- 
guards against these would be the uniformity of laws, rigidly 
enforced. No state should be permitted to enact any special 
laws, pertaining to the government of municipalities. All should 
be general laws, applicable to all cities. The mere fact that, if 
please, Chicago would like to have some law passed that places 
like Peoria might not need, should not prevent Chicago from 
having it, and Peoria could take advantage of it at any time it 
might see fit to do so. Peoria should not prevent Chicago from 

io8 J. A. JOHNSON 

having a law so long as it might have the same lavir, if it so desires 
or at any time found that it needed it. 

Hours might be spent in discussing this very important sub- 
,ject, but that I am aware that I am talking to men who have far 
more experience In this matter than I have had, men who are 
experts in municipal laws and municipal government, while I 
am simply on the threshold, never having had the opportunity 
that most of those that within sound of my voice have had, and 
the only excuse I can make for taking up your time you must 
charge to Mayor Black and Secretary Gonden. 



Detroit, Michigan, 1898. 

It is with a great deal of pleasure that I again meet with you 
and can congratulate you all on the success that has followed our 
meeting of 1897, at Columbus. This and future meetings of the 
League of American Municipalities will be of far greater profit 
to the American public than anyone could have foreseen when the 
first step looking toward the formation of the league was taken. 

Of the many subjects to be discussed by eminent gentlemen 
at this convention, to my mind, there are none of more importance 
than that of "Municipal Ownership of Public Service Industries." 
The matter of municipal ownership of waterworks, gas and elec- 
tric plants, as well as of street railways, is of comparative recent 
origin. Our predecessors, of a generation ago, were not bothered 
with the question of municipal ownership, as we understand it. 
They had easy sailing as compared with their successors of to- 
day. Then it was expected that private corporations would 
furnish water and light at such prices as they saw fit ; and if their 
patrons did not like either the price or the service, the only consola- 
tion they received was, "Well, what are you going to do about 


it?" While to-day statistics are gathered from every corner of 
America and sent to the municipal office, who thus get the benefit 
of the experience of brother officers all over the country, enabling 
each to better guard the interests which are intrusted to his care. 
Of the municipal ownership of the various public services, the one 
which has been tried the longest is water, and that it has met with 
satisfaction, not only to the municipalities which have adopted it, 
but to the patrons of the same, goes without saying. Where a 
few years ago the question had hardly been thought of, to-day 
there are hundreds of cities who own and operate their own 
water works ; and in ever>' case you could not get them to go back 
to the private corporation system. The little city I have the honor 
of representing had a contract with a private corporation, but 
after a long struggle succeeded in forcing a sale of it to the city and 
the rates were reduced 60 per cent. The cost of fire protection is 
less than the rental of hydrants from the private company and yet 
our water works takes care of itself. We are now putting in a 
new 3,000,000 gallon pump. The one now in use being inade- 
quate to furnish water for all purposes. Perhaps the most strik- 
ing result of municipal ownership of water works is at Cleveland, 
O. In 1897, after deducting extensions and operating expenses, 
including interest on its bonds, it showed a net profit of $365,052.- 
92 ; and yet water was furnished at a price no private corporation 
would have furnished it for. 

In public lighting we find the prices paid by the various muni- 
cipalities under contract, under similar conditions, are so unequal 
as to be indeed startling. With your permission I will give you 
a few comparisons, both in municipal and contract lighting. 

Ashland, Pa., pays $115 per year per lamp while Erie, Pa., 
pays but $61.86. Providence, R. I., pays $127.75 while Woon- 
socket, R. I., pays $146; Alton, 111., pays $90 while East St. 
Louis, but 20 miles distant, paj-s $110. Spokane, Wash., had a 
contract for $96 per lamp per year up to September i, 1897, and 
when the city threatened to put in its own light, the Edison Elec- 


trie Co., cut the price in two and made a contract for $48. Above 
are for all-night lamps, of 2,000 candle power The difference 
in moonlight schedule is equally great, being at Huntington, Pa., 
$54.15 per year; $120 at Fort Wayne, Ind., and $123 at Sacra- 
mento, Cal. 

When we look at the municipal lighting plants we find, that 
considering conditions, such as fuel, labor, etc., the prices are 
comparatively uniform. I will mention the cost of a few, both all- 
night and moonlight schedule. Of the all-night plants the one 
that is operated at the least cost is at Bangor, Me., costing but 
$35, including interest and depreciation, while the one costing the 
most is in this beautiful city of Detroit, where it costs, with a liberal 
allowance for interest, depreciation, loss of taxes, etc., the sum of 

Of the municipal run on the moonlight schedule we find the 
cost, including interest and depreciation, is from $52.82 at Muncie, 
Ind., to $65.78 at Frederick, Md., and as low as $29.10 at Dan- 
ville, Va., not including interest or depreciation. The municipal 
plant which can, perhaps, be taken as a pattern is at Wheeling, 
W. Va. The city of Wheeling owns both its gas and electric 
plants and in 1897 i^ expended in improvements, extensions, etc., 
for both plants, the sum of $6,153.02. It also donated to hospitals 
and other chartiable institutions gas, which, if owned by a private 
corporation would have to have been paid for, to the amount of 
$6,243. After paying all operating expenses covered into the 
city treasury, the sum of $2,649, showing actual profits derived 
out of its commercial lighting the sum of $15,045.16. The lighting 
not only of streets and public places, but commercial lighting as 
well, where it has been changed from contract to municipal 
ownership, under no circumstances would they change back to the 
contract system. 

Like comparisons could be produced indefinitely but time 
will not permit me doing so. The question of municipal owner- 
ship of street-car service has as yet been tried but little in the 


United States. In Europe, where it has been in operation long 
enough to give it a fair test, it has proven very remunerative to the 
cities which have tried it. Glasgow, Scotland, is a notable exam- 
ple; from the revenue derived from its municipal ownership of 
public service, all the running expenses of the municipal corpora- 
tion are paid, thus ob\aating the necessity of having any local 
taxes for municipal purposes. There is no reason why the same 
results could not be obtained in the United States, if properly 
handled, and we will not admit that we cannot do as well as they 
can in Scotland or elsewhere. What we do know as the result of 
the granting of franchises to private corporations for gas, electric 
lights and street railways, is that the grantees soon become so 
powerful that they absolutely control all the functions of the muni- 
cipal governments and dictate such terms as they see fit, and woe 
to the man who tries to stand by the people, if by so doing he op- 
poses their interests and incm"s the hostility of these corporations 
that have received their franchises as a gift from the public. 
Some of us have felt the power of these corporations who have 
become wealthy on municipal franchises. There are men who 
hold responsible positions in this body who have incurred the 
enmity of private corporations, and who, when it came to re- 
election, corporate money was spent as freely as water to defeat 
them, having tried to control them and, failing to do so; they were 
marked for slaughter. But the people, whom we all serve, are 
awakening to the necessity of standing by the men who will not 
bend the knee to corporations, and each year it vsdll be harder for 
anyone to be elected to a municipal position who is not known 
to be in favor of municipal ownership of public service. 

In my opinion this League, representing as it does the leading 
and most progressive cities of both the United States and Do- 
minion of Canada, should place itself squarely on record as favor- 
ing the municipal ownership of at least water works, gas and 
plectric lighting, as well as street car service. 

112 J. A. JOHNSON 


Fargo, December, 1898.^ 

The National Flax, Hemp and Ramie Association, held an 
interesting two-days session in Fargo in December, 1898. The 
attendance was very flattering, delegates being present from all 
over the northwest and eastern states. Mayor Johnson presided. 

Bishop Edsall invoked divine blessing on the work of the 

Mayor Johnson then welcomed the delegates, as follows : 

Ladies and gentlemen of the National Flax, Hemp and Ramie 
Association: As chief executive, it is with great pleasure on be- 
half of the city of Fargo, welcome. It has been my good fortune 
to have welcomed many conventions during my Mayoralty, but 
I can assure you that it has never given me greater pleasure to 
do so than on this occasion. The interest which has been created 
by flax among the citizens of North Dakota in the last few years, 
has almost overshadowed wheat. I am informed, by what I 
consider unquestioned authority, that North Dakota has, this past 
year, produced nearly, if not quite, one-half of the entire flax crop 
of the United States, and that Cass County has produced nearly 
one-tenth of the entire flax crop of the entire nation. That being 
the case, I think you have acted wisely in having your meeting 
here, and I trust that you will find that you have made no mistake 
in coming to our little city. Before you leave I hope you will 
take time to visit our schools and our business houses and banks. 
Drive over our streets and see not only our business houses but the 
residence portion of Fargo, as well. Look at our waterworks and 
volunteer fire department, of which we are justly proud. In 
fact, we are proud of our town as a whole and want you to see it 
and you will agree with us that we have a right to be proud. I 
have been trying to secure some data on flax and wrote to the 
Agricultural Department in Washington, for information and 
was informed that no satisfactory report had been made for some 


time on flax culture, which surprised me very much. Through 
the courtesy of Hon. Frank H. Hitchcock, Chief of the Division of 
Foreign Markets, I have been permitted to use the "Thirteenth 
Annual Report of the Flax Supply Association for the Improve- 
ment of the Flax Culture in Ireland for 1897. That report bears 
out Mr. Hitchcock's statement of failure to make any report of 
the flax industries. It is a well-known fact that Ireland is famous 
for its flax and linens produced therefrom, yet the report referred 
to states that no flax statistics, as to acreage, was kept from 1826 
to 1848. Between 181 2 and 1826, a flax acreage was kept and it 
was found that it averaged 132,423 acres for the fourteen years. 
WTiile the next record in 1848, it dropped to 53,863 acres. I have 
not been able to find any record of the acreage between 1848 and 
1896, when the acreage amounted to 72,253 acres, while in 1897, 
it had decreased to 45,586 acres; the lowest in the history of Ire- 

By the same report I find that out of 174,208,000 yards of 
linen exported from the United Kingdom in 1896, valued at 3,764,- 
889 pounds sterling, 100,454,700 yards, valued at 1,914,817 
pounds sterling, were exported from the United Kingdom to the 
United States, and that of 164,574,600 yards of linen goods, ex- 
ported from the United Kingdom in 1897, valued at 3,526,835 
pounds sterling; 103,086,300 were imported into the United 
States, valued at 926,104 pounds sterling. It will be seen that the 
United States in the years of 1896-1897, out of a total export of 
338,782,600 yards from the United Kingdom, 203,541,000 yards 
came to the United States at a cost to us of $17,865,285.50. 

There is no reason under the sun why this country should im- 
port the linen goods or thread from the United Kingdom, during 
the years 1896-1897, thread to the value of $340,387.65 or a total, 
for linen and thread, of $18,205,673.16. In 1850 Ireland reports 
48 looms, in 1897 there were 31,484, of which 10,894 were power 
looms. In 1850, it was reported that Ireland had 320,008 spin- 
dles; while in 1890, the report is that they had increased to 8,401,- 

114 J- A. JOHNSON 

448 and greatly improved. While these startling facts are before 
us, facts furnished by your greatest competitor, it is time that 
the men and women of the United States should take some steps 
to protect themselves, and see that, in place of our country being 
an importer of linen, that it shall be an exporter, and judging from 
what I see before me, I have no fears but that you will accomplish 
that and more. I thank you for that time that you have given me. 


Sioux Falls, S. D., May 26, 1899. 

In responding to the toast on Fargo in 1901, before going any 
further I want to say that we listened with great pleasure to the 
very hearty and eloquent welcome extended us by Judge Keith 
and Brother Miles. At the time we had to take a good part of it 
in trust and that is something we on principle, object to. But 
further investigation has proved to us that all that was said about 
the hospitality, the thrift and energy of Sioux Falls falls short of 
the reality. I was very much impressed with Brother Miles' 
address and agree with him in all he said about this beautiful city 
but cannot agree with him on one point. I cannot concede that 
any city is equal to Fargo, no matter on what lines you take it, 
and when you come to visit us in 1901 we will demonstrate that to 
your entire satisfaction. 

We will show you a city that is modern in all its appointments. 
We will take you over the miles of paved streets, well lighted, with 
wide sidewalks of incombustible material in the business part. 
Streets that are swept three times a week, and while there was 
$500,000 expended in new buildings in 1898, you cannot find a 
vacant house or store in the town that one of you would occupy. 
By the time you get there we will have another large hotel so we 
can be sure of entertaining you as we would like and as you would 
expect us to. 

This far I will call as references, as to the correctness of my 


statements, ever)- traveling man who has been in Fargo during the 
last year. We will, in addition to duplicating all that has been 
said of Sioux Falls, show you flour mills that do not stand still. 
We will show you a linseed oil mill that produces 12,500 barrels 
oil per year and that ships train loads of oil cakes to Europe, where 
every package advertises Fargo. 

We will show you a city that according to the official figures, 
had a smaller per capita tax in 1898, than any of the following 
cities: Boston, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Newark, St. Paul, Chica- 
go, New Orleans, Milwaukee, Cincinnati, Louis\ille, Philadel- 
phia, Jersey City, Minneapolis, Detroit, Rochester, Albany, 
Denver, Alleghany, Buffalo, San Francisco, Baltimore, Pro\i- 
dence and Pittsburg and a smaller bonded per capita tax than 
any of the cities named except San Francisco, Chicago, Indian- 
apolis, Denver and Detroit. Also a smaller departmental ex- 
pense of police, fire, light and street cleaning than any of the cities 
named except Indianapolis. 

We will show you a city where you can procure power for 
manufacturing or any other purpose, or where you can secure 
steam heating at the same price, the same can be obtained for in 
Chicago. We will show you the best train service of any to\vn in 
the Northwest. Where you can get on the train in Fargo and be 
in St. Paul in 6 hours and 37 minutes and in jSIinneapolis in less 
than 6 hours, a distance of 243 and 233 miles respectively. 

Now, with these figiires, a great many of which many of you 
know, and others that have been obtained from official records, can 
you blame me for not conceding that there is any town on God's 
green earth equal to Fargo ? 

ii6 J. A. JOHNSON 


Syracuse, N. Y., September 20, 1899. 

The subject, assigned to me, viz : "Special Assessments," is so 
vast that it will be possible to only touch upon the subject at this 
time. The first law authorizing the making the special assess- 
ment, that I have been able to find was in 1427, under the reign 
of Henry VI. The law authorized the appointment of a com- 
mittee to construct "walls, ditches, gutters, sewers, etc.," and 
to apportion the expense upon the lands benefited thereby. 
The act of 1427 was amended in 1667 and granted greater powers 
vested in the commission. In the act of 1667 paving of streets 
was also included. The acts of 1447 and 1667 were again 
ammended in 1672 and 1708, each time the principle of special 
assessment was recognized and the powers of the commission 
enlarged. I have not been able to find that any changes were 
made in the laws until 1855, though no doubt were some. In 
the latter year, great changes were made and again in 1875, 1882, 
and 1890 still greater powers were conferred upon the munici- 
palities for special improvements, with power to levy special 
taxes for such improvements, such taxes being payable in all 
cases by parties owning lands which were benefited by such im- 

In France the first that we find, which pertains to special as- 
sessments was in 1672, when by a decree of the council of state, it 
was ordered, in the case of widening and straightening a dark 
street, the owners were compelled to pay the cost in proportion to 
the benefits received. In 1855, in the construction of a quay, in 
the city of Lyons, the owners adjacent to, and benefited by the 
construction of the quay, paid for it. Again, in 1854 and 1855, 
in the erection of works on the lower Seine; where large tracts of 
land were reclaimed, the owners of the property paid the expense 


of the erection of the works of which the government had con- 
structed for their benefit. 

Laws pertaining to special assessments in the various German 
states, were vague and conflicting, until 1875, since which time 
the laws have been so as to authorize municipal corporations to 
make needed public improvements, such as paving, sewers, water 
works, and other works of like nature, and where certain localities 
were to be benefited, the tax or assessment must be paid by the 
owners of the property benefited by such improvement. Before 
any improvement could be made on which special taxes were to 
be levied, the same must be made public, and property owners can 
file protests against such improvement and have a hearing before 
the proper tribunals. Of other European countries, I will not 
take up your time to discuss; most of them are meagre and 
follow after laws as have been cited. 

The origin of special assessments in the United States is more 
a matter of speculation than fact. Some claim that it is inherent 
in the principle of self-government, while others claim it arose 
from the natural fairness or justice or consideration in equity. 
The probable facts are that it was borrowed from England. In 
1 69 1 the province of New York created a law similar to the Eng- 
lish law, extant prior to that date. It remained on the statute 
books of New York incorporative until 1787, when it was amended 
to suit the then existing conditions, though very little was done 
under it. The mayors and aldermen seemed to be reluctant to 
use the power vested in them for making improvements where 
special taxes were to be levied to pay for same. It was until 1807, 
that a law was passed by the legislature of New York, creating a 
commission with exclusive authority to lay out streets, squares, and 
public roads within certain prescribed territory, with the power 
to assess the cost of opening such streets, squares, and public 
roads to the owners of the property benefited thereby. In 1813, 
the law that had heretofore applied to the city of New York, was 
extended to include the cities of Albany, Hudson, and Schenectady. 

ii8 J. A. JOHNSON 

Of the four cities named, in the charter of New York, was 
the most carefully drawn, and gave that city greater powers than 
either of the other cities named. If provided two separate pro- 
cedures for imposing special assessments. One for opening the 
streets and public places, where the power of eminent domain 
was involved. The other for paving and otherwise improving 
the streets, the construction of sewers, wharves, and waterworks, 
in case the assessment was too low, a re-assessment was permitted. 
In case of dispute as to the correctness of the assessment, arbitrators 
were chosen to ascertain the facts and report the same as we now 
do in cases of arbitration. In 1840, the act was amended so as 
to prohibit the commission from assessing any house or lot more 
than half of its value as assessed for ordinary taxes by the ward 

Various amendments were made to the charter of New York, 
bearing on the principle of special assessments until the consolida- 
tion act of 1882. 

The acts, as passed by the legislature of New York from time 
to time, were often contested in the courts of that state, as they 
have been in all other states where special assessments are recog- 
nized, so far as I have been able to learn the various acts where 
uniformly sustained by the courts of last resort. In 1865, the 
legislature of New York created a law authorizing certain munici- 
palities to issue special assessment bonds, which bonds the munici- 
palities could sell, and out of the proceeds pay for the work as 
it progressed, the cities who issued such bonds could recoup itself 
from the proceeds of the taxes collected from property benefited 
and assessed for that purpose. 

Massachusetts in 1658, passed through its general court an 
order to open a public highway from "Roxbury and Boston 
Farms" and appointed a committee with power to judge what is 
mete satisfaction to the proprietors for the way, and that they 
have power to impose an equal part upon "Boston and such towns 
as shall be benefited by the way." The reading of that seems to 


be as near special assessments for the benefits derived as can be 
gotten at. That order was re-affirmed in 1692 and 1760, after 
the great fire in Boston ; in the reconstruction of the streets the 
expense thereof was paid by the property benefited. Various 
amendments took place in that state between 1760 and 1865, 
all recognizing the principle of special assessments for special 
improvements and enlarging the powers of the municipalities as 
from time to time it was found by experience to be necessary. In 
1865, the legislature of Massachusetts passed a general law for 
raising revenue from special assessment. 

Rhode Island, Connecticut, Vermont, New Hampshire, and 
Maine all have laws recognizing the principle of special assess- 
ments and they as well as Massachusetts, have been sustained and 
have had the approval of the Supreme Court. 

Pennsylvania enacted its first law recognizing special assess- 
ments by province law in 1770, commissioners were appointed 
to regulate the streets and water courses, the pitching and paving 
and graveling of the same, and to assess the cost thereof in pro- 
portion to number of feet of land benefited thereby. In 1770, the 
law of 1769 was so amended that the commission regulated the 
construction of sewers in the city of Philadelphia. The laws 
authorizing special assessments in Pennsylvania have been 
amended from time to time since 1769 as the needs and experience 
demanded, and the constitutionality of the same has been so often 
sustained by the courts of that state, the doctrine is firmly estab- 

Among the remaining states who have laws recognizing special 
assessments, and appellate courts, have sustained their consti- 
tutionality, may be mentioned the following where charters have 
been granted authorizing the cities named to make special assess- 
ments for special improvements, viz., New Jersey granted a 
charter to Newark in 1836, Maryland to Baltimore in 1836, 
Delaware to Wilmington in 1857, Michigan to Detroit in 1827, 
Ohio to Cleveland in 1836, Illinois to Chicago in 1837, Louisiana 


to New Orleans in 1832, Alabama to Mobile in 1866, Texas to 
Galveston in 1871, Kansas to Leavenworth in 1864, Iowa to 
Mount Pleasant and Lyons in 1856, Nebraska to Omaha in 1873, 
California to San Francisco in 1851, Oregon to Portland in 
1866. All the states last named have, since the granting of the 
charters cited, amended their laws and have enlarged their scope 
far beyond the original act. Among the states that have more 
or less general laws authorizing the levying of special assessment, 
may be named Mississippi, Florida, North Carolina, Virginia, 
West Virginia, Minnesota, Washington, Utah, North Dakota, 
South Dakota. In every case where the laws of the states last 
named have attached, they have been sustained by their Supreme 

The Congress of the United States has also recognized the 
principle of special assessment for special improvements by 
enacting laws for the District of Columbia permitting the levying 
of special taxes to pay for such improvements and compelling 
the owners of property benefited to pay the expense of the same. 

Of the forty-six states in the Union, forty states and one 
territory have laws permitting the levying of special assessments 
to pay for local or special improvements. 

Of the forty-six states, six have constitutional provisions 
authorizing the levying of special assessments for special improve- 
ments. Of the remaining states, two recognize it to the extent 
of the police powers of the state. There is, of course, some 
difference as to the methods of procedure among so many states, 
but the main principle of special assessment is recognized in them 
all. In my own state. North Dakota, we can have no special 
laws, all must be of a general nature and apply to all cities. Our 
laws authorize municipal corporations to create improvement dis- 
tricts for the purpose of grading, paving, and curbing and other- 
wise improving streets and the expense thereof is paid as follows : 
Eighty per cent by the property benefited, and twenty per cent 
from the general fund of the city. We have a similar law that 


permits us to construct a system of sewers, and in both for paving 
and sewers the council can order either or both without any 
petition of the property owners, provided five-sixths of all the 
aldermen elected, vote in favor of such improvement. We 
issue "District Improvement" warrants or orders with interest 
coupons attached. In the paving warrants we issue them for ten 
years with a proviso that we can take them up on demand. In 
the sewer warrants we issue them for twenty years with the same 
proviso, there permitting us to take them up at any time that 
our sinking fund will permit and thus save interest. 

Any property owner has the right to pay his assessments for 
either sewer or paving at any time and be thus relieved from any 
further assessments. In Fargo this law has worked to perfection, 
it has enabled us to make improvements that we could not other- 
wise have made. We have not only been able to pave and con- 
struct sewers on our business streets, but a very large part of the 
residence portion as well. In 1898, we expended $108,690, and 
this year we will expend over $200,000. Yet our general taxes 
for all purposes in 1898 was but $10.57 per capita, where in 
some of the large cities in the east and south, they were from 
$21.02 to $26.64 per capita. It has enabled us to build up a town 
that had over $9,000,000 wholesale trade in 1898, where our banks 
on the last day of December last had $1,659,924.82 subject to 
check, where our clearing house handled $14,677,849.08 and our 
post office netted the department over all expenses $23,505.09. 
Where the Western Union Telegraph office handled 777,189 
commercial messages; that has made Fargo the third city of 
importance in the world as a wholesale center for implements; 
that has given us three of the greatest railway systems in the 
United States; viz.. Northern Pacific, Great Northern, and 
Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul, with an equipment and service 
that is not excelled in any part of the world; that enabled us to 
handle over 650 tons of freight for every day last year, and that 
has connected us with over 100 towns and cities by phone in the 

122 J. A. JOHNSON 

Northwest and on all eastern and southern cities; that would 
permit me going to your telephone ofl5ce in this city and calling 
up my wife or any one else in Fargo and talking with her or 

It has enabled us to expend over $500,000 in new building in 
1898 and we will expend more than that sum this year, and with 
all this I will say to the surprise of some of you, that we have not 
a place in Fargo where intoxicating liquors can be obtained, 
neither have we any gambling houses, nor do I expect to see 
any of either there and I expect to live the balance of my life in 

I am aware of the fact that the figures quoted may seem small 
to the most of you who attend this convention, but it must be 
remembered that less than thirty years ago, the land on which 
Fargo now stands was an Indian reservation with Sitting Bull as 
chief in command. 

Less than a generation ago, General Hazen, at that time 
chief of the weather bureau, reported that the territory now com- 
prising North Dakota, was an alkali desert scarce fit for the wild 
buffalo and still wilder Indian, yet this same soil in 1898, gave to 
each man, woman and child in the state over $350, leaving com- 
mercial and manufacturing interests to swell this sum. 

Answering the question as to what proportion of the cost should 
be assessed against the property benefited, and what proportion 
should be paid out of the general fund, I am of the opinion, based 
on some experience, that street and alley intersections should be 
paid out of the general fund and the remainder to be paid by the 
property benefited. At the time of the passage of our law, we 
believed that 20 per cent should be paid by the city and 80 per cent 
by the property benefited. Our experience is, that the public 
should pay 25 per cent and the property benefited 75 per cent. 
Our theor}' Is that the inside lot is not as much benefited as is 
the corner, and for any advantage the corner may possess, it pays 
a larger tax, is compelled to maintain its side walk on two sides 


where the inside lot maintains it only on one side. In other words, 
the corner lot pays each year sufficient to exempt it from paying 
more than the inside lot has to pay. 

Law of Special Assessment 

In the case of the Roosevelt Hospital vs. the Mayor of New 
York — 84 N. Y., page 108, the Court says, "Taxes are public 
burdens imposed upon the inhabitants of the whole state or some 
civil division thereof, for governmental purposes, without reference 
to particular individuals or property. They are justified only 
because of the improvements confer special benefits and are only 
just when they are divided in porportion to benefits." 

In 74 N. Y., page 216, Judge Miller says: "The principle 
upon which a corporation tax for improvement of real estate is 
founded, is quite familiar and well understood. It is based on 
the theory that the owner of the property assessed is to receive 
corresponding the amount assessed, this is to be paid to meet the 
cost and expense of the improvement. It is therefore of no 
consequence what the value of the lots be, providing the enhanced 
benefit is equal to the assessment." 

In the case of the people vs. the Mayor of New York, six 
Barbour, page 209, the court says: "The people have not 
ordained that taxation shall be general so as to embrace all per- 
sons or all taxable property within the state or within any district 
or division of the state ; nor that it shall not be numerically equal 
as in the case of a capitation tax, nor that it must be in ratio of the 
value of each man's land or of his goods or of both combined; 
nor that a tax must be so extensive of the district or upon all the 
property in the district which has the character of and is known 
to the law as a local sovereignty, nor have they ordained or for- 
bidden that a tax shall be apportioned to the benefits which each 
taxpayer is supposed to receive from the object on which the tax 
is expended. In all these particulars the power of taxation is 

124 J. A. JOHNSON 

In Rhode Island in the matter of Dorance Street, 4 R. I., page 
230, Chief Justice Ames says: "It is evident that a gain even 
the fanciful or formal support for its existence only when the law 
is to be applied in the case one part only, whose land is to be taken 
for the street, leaving a part benefited, or to one whose land is 
to be taken in one place, he having land benefited in another, in 
which cases the law provides for a set-off of benefits against 
damages, the balance either way, only, to be reported by a com- 
missioner or a jury. We say formal or fanciful only, because it 
must be evident that after all the real question is. Can there be such 
a constitutional assessment for benefits upon estates benefited 
by the improvement ; for if there can be, no reason can be given 
why a man should be excused from his assessment upon one part 
or his estate really benefited, because another part of it has been 
taken to make the improvement." 

Hare of American Law, vol. I, page 310, says : "The conclu- 
sion that the main current of decisions may therefore be said to 
be, that notwithstanding some apparent exceptions, local assess- 
ments are constitutional only when imposed to pay for local 
improvements, clearly conferring local benefits on the property so 
assessed, and to the extent of these benefits. They cannot be 
imposed when the improvement is for the general good, without 
an excess- of local benefit to justify the charge." 

In 1882, Judge Fintch in the matter of Church, reported in 
the 22nd., N. Y., page 6, said: "There is no force in the objection 
that after fixing the assessment district, the total expense cannot 
be assessed on the property, but only so much as is actually 
benefited." That is but another form of saying that the legisla- 
ture cannot impose the whole cost upon the area which it decides 
is benefited to that extent. The case of Stewart vs. Palmer, 
holds that the legislature may cause local improvements to be 
made, and authorize the expense thereof to be assessed upon the 
land benefited thereby. 

Judge Sharswood of the Appellate Court of Pennsylvania, in 


the case of Hannel vs. the City of Philadelphia, reported in 65 
Pennsylvania St., page 146: "The original paving of a street 
brings the property abounding upon it into the market as building 
lots. It is therefore, a local improvement with benefits exclusively 
peculiar to adjoining properties. Such a case is clearly within 
the principle of assessing the cost of the lots lying upon it. Per- 
haps no fairer rule can be adopted than the proportion of front 
feet, although there must be equalities if the lots differ in situation 
and in depth. Appraising their market values and fixing the 
proportion according to those in a plan open to favoritism or 
corruption or other objection. No system of taxation the wit of 
man can devise has been found perfectly equal. But when a 
street is once paved and open, thus assimilating the rest of the 
city and made a part of it, all the peculiar benefits to the locality 
derived from improvements have been received and enjoyed. 
Repairing streets is as much a part of the ordinary duties of the 
municipality for the public good, as cleaning, watching, and light- 
ing. It would be a monstrous injustice and inequality should 
such general expense be provided by local assessments." 

Judge Lindsay, in the case of The Broadway Baptist Church 
vs. McAtee, reported in Bush 8, page 512, and also in Simpson 
on Municipal Assessment, page 6, says in part: "The owners 
of such property receive and enjoy very nearly the permanent 
advantages accruing to the city from the construction, repairs, 
and reconstruction of the streets upon which their property may 
be situated. The general public certainly receives incidental 
benefits from such improvements, but the benefits to the owners 
of the real estate are direct, appreciable and permanent. The 
original improvement enhances the value of the property adjacent 
to the street improved by making it accessible to the public 
and attracting trade and population. This enhanced can be 
preserved in no other way than by keeping the street in repair 
and by its reconstruction when too much worn to be longer 
repaired. Hence, so far as the right to impose this local taxation 

126 J. A. JOHNSON 

depends upon the enjoyment of the persons taxed of the peculiar 
benefits arising therefrom, it seems to us, that there is no substan- 
tial difference between the reconstruction and the original pave- 
ment of the street." 

It will be noticed that the two learned jurors just quoted, took 
diametrically opposite sides of the question of repaying, when the 
original paving had been worn out. It will also be noticed, that 
Simpson on Municipal Assessments, supports Judge Lindsay, 
while I have seen no authority that supported Judge Sharswood, 
though there may be some. 

I will only take up your time in quoting part of another deci- 
sion from my own state of North Dakota. In the case of Rolph 
and Cadbury vs. the City of Fargo, the unanimous opinion of 
the Court was delivered by Chief Justice Guy H. C. Corliss, and 
is very exhaustive, and a great many authorities are cited, reads 
as follows : "The owner of the abutting property is by this action, 
attacking the validity of an assessment to pay the expense of 
paving a street in the city of Fargo. He grounds his assault 
thereon, upon the validity of the statutes upon which the assess- 
ment was levied. It is not contended that the steps taken by the 
proper authorities were unauthorized by law. But the broad 
proposition was laid down by the counsel for the plaintiff, that the 
statute is void for the reason that it does not limit the total assess- 
ment upon property within the special district, to the actual bene- 
fits accruing to such district from the local improvement from 
which the tax is to be levied. When the taxpayer is called on 
to contribute for general purposes, he is not permitted to chal- 
lenge the legality of the tax on the ground that he is not receiving 
a pecuniary benefit commensurate with the sum he is required 
to pay. Whence comes the right of the Courts to accord him 
this peculiar privilege in cases of local assessments? It is right 
here that the fallacy of the cases of the counsel for the plaintiff lies. 
We cannot discover any foundation for these decisions which hold 
that a local improvement is an entirety, and therefor cannot be 


dinded. WTiat proportion of the expense shall be paid by the 
special district and whether all of it shall be collected therein, is a 
matter of legislative discretion. But the improvements itself, is 
not affected by any decision the legislature may make. It still 
remains local, although that body orders that portion, therefore, 
shall be collected as a part of the general taxes. It is a fact that 
it is a local improvement which vests in the legislature the power 
to direct that it shall be paid out of the local property. This 
power is not merely a power to order such portion to be collected 
in the special taxing district as shall be equivalent of the enhance- 
ment of the value of property therein, because of such improve- 
ment, but to direct that the expense of the improvement as an 
entirety, be collected in a manner different from that in which the 
ordinary taxes are collected. It there is any power at all in the 
legislature to prescribe a distinctive mode of collecting the expense 
of such an improvement, it is as broad as the purpose for which 
the tax is to be levied. The Court cannot divide it up and say at 
what point the power ceases, cannot declare that as to any parti- 
cular percentage of the cost, the only mode of levying tax to dis- 
charge the same shall be a general taxation. How could the 
Courts ever determine what part should be paid out of the general 
treasiuy and what part raised by local assessments? What rule 
shall govern them in investigating such a question ? What right 
have they to dictate where the line shall be drawn ? If, as we be- 
lieve the Courts cannot require that any portion of the expense shall 
be collected as ordinary revenues are collected, the whole ground 
falls from under the postulate, that the limit of the power of local 
assessment is the enhanced value of the particular land assessed ? 

128 J. A. JOHNSON 


Aberdeen Daily News, April 4, 1900. 

I have been invited to come and say to you, if I understand 
the subject, v^^hat we are accomplishing in Fargo without, in any 
way, receiving aid in revenue from the liquor traffic. 

I had the honor, if there was any honor in it, of being Mayor 
of Fargo during territorial days, when we had about forty-five 
saloons. So I have had some experience in that direction also, as 
well as in the past four years when we have had no saloons. 

At the time of the adoption of our constitution, when the pro- 
hibition amendment was carried, it was represented that it would 
depopulate Fargo; that houses would become vacant, stores and 
other buildings would stand idle, property would depreciate, 
rents go down, to use a slang phrase "all would go to the dogs." 
I am glad to tell you that prophecy has never been fulfilled, but 
just the reverse has happened. Fargo has prospered without the 
saloon far better than it ever did with it. Instead of being de- 
populated, it has more than doubled its population since the 
saloons left us; rents have not gone down, but have gone up if 
there is any difference. There is not in Fargo to-day, nor has 
there been, a vacant house fit for a mouse to live in, or a vacant 
store since the saloons are gone. 

In the past four years, more than $1,000,000.00 has been 
invested in new buildings in Fargo. In 1898, the per capita tax 
of Fargo was $10.57. 

I do not believe there is a city on the American continent of 
three times the population of Fargo that did the business Fargo 
did in 1899. O'^r building as stated before, has been more than 
a million dollars in the past four years. In 1898, according to 
the report of the Mayor of Duluth to the city council, and according 
to the building inspectors' report in Fargo, there was $177,000 
more expended for building in Fargo than there was in Duluth. 

Duluth has about one hundred saloons, deriving $100,000 in 


revenue, I think from this source, while Fargo did not get a 
dollar from that direction, and I hope and believe, never will. 

To show you people the transfers and investments in Fargo 
real estate, I have compiled the amount of transfer for the past 
four years. 

In 1896, the transfers of property amounted to $185,578.08; 
in 1897, it was $212,876.24, in 1898, $228,942.82, in 1899, it was 
$314,956.94. It will show that the real estate dealing in Fargo 
in the year 1899, were nearly double those of 1896. 

I have the figures if you will permit me to give them to you. 
We put in 4.2 miles of paving; 8.4 miles of curbing. The average 
width of the streets are 36 feet between the curbs, at a cost of 
$137,013.24. We put in 14,828 feet of sewer of which 4,880 
feet were brick. We put in 12,696 feet of water mains at a cost 
of $12,100.07, and the sewers cost $17,935.98, at total of $167,- 

There are men in this building, within the hearing of my voice, 
who can tes'.ify to the fact that what I am telling you is true, and 
yet, we have reduced the rate of taxation without disturbing the 
ratio valuation 24 per cent in the last four years. 

I claim that Fargo is a prohibition city. I once attended a 
convention of Mayor and Aldermen at Detroit, Michigan. One 
of the sessions was devoted to the question of the regulation of 
the saloon. I did not feel any interest in the subject and did not 
attend. I went and visited the Masonic Lodge. Some one 
spoke to me the next day and said, "What is the matter with 
you? I never knew you to miss a session before." I told him 
that I was not interested in the subject. "What," he asked, 
"are you not interested in the regulation of the saloon?" I said, 
"There are no saloons in Fargo, I never expect to see any there, 
and I ex-pect to live there the balance of my life." Then he said, 
"You have not got much of a town." I said, "Compared with 
your city, we have not, but our building report shows up to July 
fhis year, we put in about $300,000 worth of new buildings." 


He said, "You must have what they call blind pigs or worse." 
I said, "I will guarantee your expenses to Fargo and return if you 
can buy a glass of liquor, beer or wine in the town ; if you cannot, 
you shall pay your own expenses." 

We try and we believe we do enforce the Prohibition Law. 
I want to say now, no thanks are due to me. The citizens of 
Fargo are supporting me in this matter and they would support 
any man. The question of saloons or the saloon business, has 
been a dead issue in Fargo for four years. If the question of the 
location of the saloon in Fargo, came before the people, it would 
not have votes enough to be worth counting. 

At the time of the adoption of the Constitutional Amendment, 
Fargo gave a majority of about 700 against the constitutional 
amendment. I firmly believe that if a vote were to be taken 
to-morrow, there would be 700 majority for it. 

I know of men of influence who believed it would be a detri- 
ment to Fargo not to have saloons, and who now say they never 
want to see one again, andjf Jhe question came up, would vote 
against it. 

To enforce that law, in addition of having a public sentiment 
back of it, you require the co-operation of four men ; your judge, 
your prosecuting attorney, your sheriff and your mayor. If they 
are in earnest in the work, you can enforce any law. If they are 
not, you cannot enforce any law, no matter what it is, and I do 
not care what you do. 

The Mayor governs the city through the police. The ordi- 
nary policeman will only see what the Mayor sees. He thinks 
that if the Mayor put the star on, he can take it ofif. If he thinks 
the Mayor would like to see, he sees. If he thinks that the Mayor 
does not want him to see, he is as blind as a bat. 

Now I was asked, this afternoon, by the President of one of 
your banks, if it was not a fact, that Moorhead, being so close, 
did not help in this matter, if Moorhead was not the dumping 
ground of Fargo. I told him "no," they tried making a 


dumping ground of Fargo for the bums, but we would not have 
it ; that they came in once in a while and we handled them gently 
and pleasantly and got rid of them. We maintain twice the police 
force in Fargo we would have to do if Moorhead was fifty miles 
away from there. We have to do that as a matter of self protec- 

Now understand I am not speaking of the citizens of Moor- 
head as a whole ; I am speaking of the undesirable element that 
comes in the spring and stays until it freezes up in the fall; the 
element that hangs around the saloons, wine-rooms, etc. If 
Fargo was 50 miles from Moorhead I could go home to-morrow 
and discharge half the policemen and still have plenty of protection 
for the citizens. 

I do not know as I have anything more to say on the subject, I 
believe I have touched on everything in Fargo. 

Personally, I do not believe in politics in municipal affairs. 
I belong to an organization of which I have the honor of being 
first vice-president. At the same meeting in Detroit, which I 
spoke of awhile ago, a resolution was introduced and supported 
unanimously, making it almost obligatory on those present, to 
eliminate politics from municipal affairs. There were repre- 
sented at that meeting over 12,000,000 people, representing 
such cities as New York, Baltimore, Milwaukee, New Orleans, 
and others I could name were present. Not one single hand was 
raised in opposition to that resolution. 

Again at the election in Fargo this spring, not a causus was 
held, not a nomination was made by a political body of either 
side. We had four candidates in the field, so far as that was 
concerned, but politics had nothing to do with it. 

Some of the strongest Democrats in the city, voted for me 
and supported me. I have always been a Republican. I voted 
for Governor Morton of Indiana and have voted the Republican 
ticket up to now on everything pertaining to National and State 
politics. I voted as a Republican for Abraham Lincoln and down 

132 J. A. JOHNSON 

to the present executive, President McKinley, and expect to vote for 
him again if I live. I have voted for men not Republicans on 
city and county tickets. If the Republicans are equally as good, 
I vote for them, if there is one on the other side who is a better 
man, I vote for him, and for that reason I am not in good standing 
with what is known as the machine. 

If there is anyone in the audience who wishes to ask any 
questions, they are at liberty to do so. 

Q. Tell us something of the amount of crime committed in 

A. I am right glad you called my attention to that. I went 
to the States attorney's yesterday when I was called here. Fargo's 
record for crime is almost as white as the driven snow. In the 
past four years there have been three convictions for crime in 
Fargo. One was a burglary, a non-resident, caught in the act. 
Another was a hobo for highway robbery, one hobo robbing 
another of the same stripe ; and the third was a young man who 
embezzled $70.00 from his employer. There has not been an 
assault, shooting afifray, or a crime committed on the streets of 
Fargo, except in two cases where it was caused by resisting an 
officer. There is another thing I wish to show you, that is how 
Fargo entertains strangers during the year. We have perhaps 
as much of the undesirable element as any city in the United 
States. But our hotel registers in 1889 showed 157,113 people 
registered. That shows we entertained some strangers. 

Q. How much revenue does Moorhead derive from the saloon 
licenses; what has been the rate of taxation and have people 
been satisfied with the results? 

A. I think there are about forty-five saloons in Moorhead. 
The minimum license paid is $500.00. The taxes are higher than 
in Fargo. You ask whether the people are satisfied or not. I 
can only answer this in one way. On the 21st of last month 
they had an election of Mayor and some aldermen. The candi- 
dates were the then Mayor (a wholesale liquor dealer), a man by 


the name of Lewis who had been for the wide open policy, and 
a college professor; the latter was elected. 

I want to say just one thing more in that connection. The 
assessment as shown by the city assessment rolls in 1899 was about 
$12,000,000 increase in Fargo and about $7,000 increase in 

Q. Do you have any arrests for drunkenness in Fargo? 

A. Yes, sir, I am sorry to say that we do, but they come 
from the other side of the river. There is one point I would like 
to state in this connection. My friend Bushnell, has been in 
Fargo when the town was full of strangers. I believe he will 
tell me now that he never saw a drunken man on the streets of 

The way we prevent this is, when we have public gatherings, 
we know they cannot get whiskey in Fargo, and if they get it, they 
have to go to the other side of the river. We have two bridges 
crossing the river, we station a policeman on each bridge, if a 
man comes along intoxicated, they caution him to go back, if he 
does not do so, they run him into the cooler. 

Q. Are the druggists allowed to sell any liquor? 

A. No, sir, nor do I believe they do so. 

Q. How does a man get medicine when he is sick? 

A. If you have a prescription from a doctor, not otherwise. 

Q. Do the doctors ever give prescriptions to the wrong man ? 

A. I do not know, I never tried it. 

Q. In giving the per capita tax of a city having a large popu- 
lation, does that affect the per capita tax? 

A. No, sir. I think the people who pay little or no tax 
would hold good in Aberdeen as well as it would hold good in 
New York City. The mere fact that one man pays $10,000 taxes 
and the next neighbor pays little or nothing, would not affect 
the average per capita tax. To arrive at the correct amount of 
the city, I think proportionately, they would be practically the 
same if not exactly the same. 

134 J- A. JOHNSON 

I have just been handed a paper showing the per capita tax 
of your city here on a basis of 4,000 population in 1898, $12.44 
against Fargo's $10.07. 

Q. How about gambling in Fargo ? 

A. If there is any gambling there it is done in private houses 
and in hotels. There are no gambling houses in Fargo, nor are 
there any bawdy houses. We have a curfew ordinance which 
sends the children home at nine o'clock. 

Q. Do you enforce the curfew ordinance ? 

A. We do in patrol limits where the police can reach them. 
Fargo covers a large amount of territory and we only patrol the 
business portion. 

Q. How many policemen have you in Fargo ? 

A. Chief, Captain, Detective and eight patrolmen. In the 
summer time we have twelve, and put one in the park during 
the summer months. We have less policemen now than we had 
when I was elected in 1895, and when the population was one 
third less. 


Fargo, December 2, 1900. 

The question of Municipal Government is one that is of great 
interest to the people of the United States. Never before has 
the question of Municipal Government attracted so much atten- 
tion, not only to the officials whose duty it is to see that the people 
have the best, and at the same time the most economical govern- 
ment possible, but the average citizen has taken an interest in the 
matter, and that is one of the best indications that officials will 
be held strictly accountable for their acts. There is nothing I 
can conceive of that will bring about the betterment of Municipal 
Government, than the fact that the citizens generally are taking 
an interest in the same. Heretofore, very little attention has been 
given to the government of cities and that is one of the odd things 


about our people, when it is considered that the expenditure 
of the Federal Government, large as it is, is but a "drop in the 
bucket" as compared to the expenditure of the municipalities 
of the U. S. I can name enough cities on the ends of my fingers 
whose expenditures will exceed the expenditures of the United 

The problems to be solved by the ofl&cials who are charged 
with the government of cities, are perplexing indeed. The 
citizens want improvement in every direction — in fact they want 
not only the improvements, such as paved streets, sewers, side- 
walks, lights, police protection and many other necessities, I 
might almost say luxuries, but insist in having the same, and at 
the same time the average citizen will condemn the officials on 
account of taxes. It is difficult indeed to be able to comply with 
all the demands made, and at the same time keep the expenses 

A city is very much like an individual — if it must have 
improvements it must expect to pay for them — and the only 
way of doing so is the w^ay of le\^ng of taxes, either direct or by 
special assessment. By special assessment is meant such taxes 
as the paving of streets, construction of sewers, putting down 
sidewalks and any other special improvement that does not bene- 
fit the whole population of the city. In some, in fact in most of 
the cities, some of these improvements are paid for in part by the 
citizens at large, or from the general fund; the amount varies 
according to the ideas of the municipalities and the legislative 
enactments. In Fargo, for example, the city pays one-fifth of all 
the paving we do. Some cities pay more and then again I believe 
some do not pay anything, but allow the abutting property to 
pay it all. 

In making these improvements, the first thing that confronts 
the officers is not only to secure the latest and best work and 
method, but at the same time the cheapest in order that the 
expense to the property owner may be as light as possible. In 

136 J. A. JOHNSON 

order to do that, the greater part of the cities do their public work 
under what is known as the contract system, or by letting the 
work to the lowest and best bidder: and mind you, the lowest 
may not always be the best bidder. Some few cities do their 
own public work by the day labor, the city being the employer 
and doing the work under the superintendency of its engineering 

It is only of late years that any systematic efforts have been 
made by the municipalities themselves, acting of course through 
their Mayors and Councils, to ascertain the cost of various public 
improvements; that is, each city knew what it paid but did not 
know what its neighbor paid for similar services and work. 

I have so far only spoken in a general way of municipalities 
and will say but little about our own city, for you all know as much 
about it as I do. I claim that Fargo, considering the size of the 
place and the number of strangers who come here every year, 
some of them are not such as we would invite to come, is the 
cleanest city in the United States ; we have less crimes committed 
here than in any other city in the Union doing the same amount 
of commercial business. 

There is one request I have to make and you may consider 
that a personal one if you please ; that is, if you see anything to 
find fault with, don't scold and condemn it, but call on me and if 
I cannot remedy it, I will at least try. You may see something to 
condemn that I do not know anything about. Above all things, 
do not write me any letters unless you sign your name to them. 
I frequently receive letters without any signature. I pay no 
attention to them, nor will 1 do so in the future. 

I was shown a letter written to one of our papers a few days 
ago by some one who did not sign her name — she said the writer 
was a woman. If she will come to me and tell me what she 
knows, I will be pleased to take it up and do my best to remedy 
the matter. If she has any information I am entitled to it, if I 
am expected to act, for at the present I am entirely ignorant as 


far as any knowledge that would be of any value before our 


Charleston, S. C, December 13, 1900. 

Should such improvements as the construction of sewers, 
water works, sidewalks, pavements, grading, etc., be done under 
the contract system or by the municipality as the employer of day 
labor ? 

The question of street improvements has, in the last few years, 
assumed a much larger share of the attention of municipalities, 
and a very large proportion of the public funds are used in such 
improvements, than was the case but a few years since. Streets 
well paved and drained is one of the things that each municipality 
expects of its officers, and, while that is the case, the tax-payers 
justly hold the public officials to a strict accountability for the 
money expended. It is but a comparatively short time since 
any paving excepting granite blocks has been used. In fact, it 
is but a few years since anything but granite was considered 
suitable for paving. Now, however, there are many other kinds, 
among which may be mentioned the Nicholson or block paving, 
asphalt, brick and macadam. Of these macadam costs the least, 
the Nicholson next, and so far as I know, or have been able to 
ascertain, asphalt is the most expensive. Paving, like electric 
lighting, is one of the questions that, as to the price, each munici- 
pality seems to have worked out for itself. The prices differ greatly 
under seemingly similar conditions, as may be seen from the fol- 
lowing figures. 


Price paid Years guaranteed 

Buffalo, N. Y $2.53 5 

Cincinnati, O 2.35 5 

Clev-eland, O 2.55 10 

Columbus, 2.40 10 

Camden, N.J 1.77 10 



Price paid 

Chattanooga, Tenn 2.85 

Hartford, Conn .^. 2.59 

Kansas City, Kans 2. 12 J 

Minneapolis, Minn 2.00 

St. Paul, Minn 2.55 

New Orleans, La 2.80 

Providence, R. 1 2.45 

St. Joseph, Mo 2.80 

Syracuse, N. Y 1.40 

Utica, N. Y 1.85 

Years guaranteed 








5 years guarantee 
10 " 

5 ' 
10 ' 

10 ' 

5 ' 
5 ' 

6 in. concrete 

Where other asphalt, except trinidad or bermudez, has been 
used, the prices seem to differ as much as in the cities quoted, as, 
for instance: 

Los Angeles, Cal f 1.44 

Salt Lake City, Utah 2.79 

Springfield, Mass 3.07 

Binghamton, N. Y 1.59 

Erie, Pa i .99 

Detroit, Mich 1.65 

Grand Rapids, Mich 1.55 

Scranton, Pa 1.95 

In vitrified brick paving, the prices seem to vary as much as 
in asphalt, as will be seen from the following: 

Per sq. yd. 

Atlanta, Ga $1.85 

Altoona, Pa 1.60 

Baltimore, Md 1.73 

Burlington, la 1.40 

Bloomington, 111 1.20 

Binghamton, N. Y 1.97 

Cincinnati, O 1.70 

Columbus, O 0.89 

Camden, N. J 2.26 

Council Bluffs, la 1.36 

Chattanooga, Tenn 2.30 

Detroit, Mich 1.60 

Dubuque, la 1.35 

Erie, Pa 1.69 

Ft. Wayne, Ind 1.50 

Grand Rapids, Mich 1.50 

Holyoke, Mass 2.02 

Houston, Te.xas 1.85 

Joliet, 111 1.05 

Jackson, Mich 1.24 

Kansas City, Kans 1.08 

Los Angeles, Cal 2.70 

Broken Stone 
6 in. concrete 

sand flat brick 

4 m. 
6 in. 

Sand on flat brick 


Persq. yd. 

Little Rock, Ark 2.25 6 in. concrete 

Minneapolis, Minn i .66 J " " 

Meriden, Conn 2.27 " " 

New Orleans, La 2.10 " " 

Philadelphia, Pa 2.13 " " 

Providence, R. 1 2.10 

Syracuse, N. Y 1.78 

Springfield, Mass 2.16 " " 

St. Paul, Minn 2.00 " " 

Saginaw, Mich 1.17 " " 

Trenton, N.J 1.57 

Toledo, O 1.22 

Troy, N. Y 1.60 

Topeka, Kans 1.77 Sand on flat brick 

St. Paul, Minn., has put down some paving with what is 
known as Kettle River sandstone. City Engineer O. Claussen, 
under date of October 2, 1900, writes me that asphalt pa\ang costs 
$2.55, and Kettle River sandstone costs $2.45, and vitrified brick 
$2.00 per square yard. 

Ex-city Engineer F. W. Cappelen of Minneapolis, Minn., 
under date of September 21, 1900, gives me the following informa- 
tion, viz.: "In 1897 the city council advertised for bids to pave 
Seventh Street, a distance of 8 blocks, with vitrified brick. The 
prices bid were $2.00, $2.02 and $2.04 per square yard; all bids 
were rejected and new bids called for. The new bids were $1.90, 
$1.99, $2.02, and $2.04 per square yard. 

" A resolution awarding the contract to the lowest bidder failed 
to pass in the city council, and the third time bids were received 
ranging in price from $1.99 to $2.00 per square yard; showing 
that the contractors' combination was invulnerable and, as a re- 
sult, the City Council ordered me, then the city engineer, to buy 
all necessary material in the open market and pave the street my- 
self under the same specifications upon which the contractors sub- 
mitted bids. This was done in a thorough manner for $1.66^ for 
ten hours work and teams $3.50." Under date of October 13, 
1900, Mr. Cappelen again writes me as follows: "The price, or 
rather, cost of paving this year, under the 8 hour law, $1.75 for 


common labor, was as follows: Vitrified brick, $i.8i to $2.10 
and $1.82 to $6.10 per square yard, cement filler used, which is 
only half as expensive as filling used on Seventh Street. Sand- 
stone on same foundation, with 4J foot gutters of brick, $1.50 per 
square yard. Asphalt costs this year $2.59 per square yard. The 
city built the foundation and the Barber Asphalt Company put 
down the top ; the city paying for the material and labor and 10 
per cent for tools, etc., showing this method for asphalt not as 
economical as you can have it laid on a 10 year guarantee for to 
cost not exceeding $2.40 per square yard." 

I again quote City Engineer Claussen of St. Paul, Minn. In his 
report to the Board of Public Works, under date of January i, 
1900, I find the following, viz.: Cedar blocks, on plank, 408,610 
yards, at an approximate cost of $1.25 per square yard and 48,297 
of yards cedar blocks on concrete, at an approximate cost of 
$1.31 per square yard. 

In Fargo, we have over 20 miles of cedar block paving, laid 

on plank, with 3-inch sand cushion and gravel tamping, and after 

tamping, a layer of fine gravel, about 2 inches deep, is left by the 

contractor and is firmly packed in all the crevices ; by this method 

paving soon becomes one solid mass. Our paving has been down 

about 6 years ; that is, since we first began to pave, and has proven 

very satisfactory. It will last for some years yet, and so far it 

has not cost us anything in the way of repairs to speak of. The 

cost has been from 96 cents to $1.11 per square yard, the average 

being about $1.03. This includes all excavation and filling. 

It will be seen that while it costs $1.25 per square yard for cedar 

block paving in St. Paul, it only costs $1.03 in the city of Fargo; 

in both cases the work being done by contract under competitive 

bids for the work. 


The cost of constructing sewers is a much more difficult matter 
to determine, by way of comparison, than paving. In paving, 
all the work is on the surface and comparisons can be made with 


much more certainty than it seems when the difference in depth 
of the excavation, as well as the character of the soil of the streets 
to be excavated, must be judged separately. That being the case, 
I shall not endeavor to make many comparisons, and, for that 
purpose, will take the cities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minn., 
as the best I can find for the purpose. The conditions are as nearly 
alike as possible, being only 10 miles from the City Hall in one 
city to the City Hall in the other; labor, materials and all other 
conditions being alike. I will quote City Engineer Cappelen of 
Minneapolis. By his report, I find, that in 1899 the city con- 
structed a number of sewers, the city doing the work by day labor 
at $1.75 per day for common labor, for 8 hours work. I find that 
there were seven 12-inch sewers, constructed at an average depth 
of 12 feet II inches at an average cost of $1.80 per lineal foot. 
The cost varied from $1.33 to $2.50 per lineal foot, according to 
the character of the excavation. I fijid that seven sewers are 
constructed with 15-inch clay pipe, at an average depth of 12 feet 
7 inches, and at an average cost of $1.82; the cost ranging from 
$1.33 to $2.47 per lineal foot. 

I find five sewers constructed of 18-inch pipe at an average 
depth of 12 feet 5 inches, and at an average cost of $2.48 per 
lineal foot. To show the difficulty in comparisons on sewers, 
Mr. Cappelen's report shows one 15-inch pipe sewer (not quoted 
above) that cost $3.30 per lineal foot and 14 feet 8 inches deep. 
WTiile he shows that 24 brick sewers, costing from $2.50 to $4.03 
per lineal foot, or an average of $3-33, and at an average depth of 
16 feet 8 inches. 

City Engineer O. Claussen of St. Paul, under date of October 
31st, writes me that the average price of a 12-inch sewer, 12 feet 
deep, is $1.00 per lineal foot. And the average price of a 15-inch 
sewer is $1.20 per lineal foot, and for 18-inch sewer is $1.50 per 
lineal foot, each 13 feet deep, and for brick sewers, $15 per thous- 
and brick laid. 

In Fargo we have a large amount of sewers of various sizes. 

142 J. A. JOHNSON 

Under date of October 31st, last, City Engineer Samuel F. Crabbe, 
reports the cost of the different size sewers as follows, viz : 

12 inch pipe sewers, depth 16 feet, $1.20 per lineal foot 

15 " " " 16 " 1.68 " " " 

18 " " " 16 " 2.13 " 

20 " " " 16 " 2.40 " 

24 " " " 12 " 1.80 " 

33 inch brick sewer, average depth 1 7 ft., $4.74 per lineal foot. 

Above are the only comparisons I shall make. As stated at the 
beginning, it is difficult to do so, with justice to the cities where 
the comparisons are made. I find the summary of the com- 
parisons quoted above, viz. : 

City of Minneapolis, doing the work by day labor. 

12 inch-pipe sewer 14 feet deep, cost $1.80 per lineal foot 
15 " " 12.7 " " " 1.82 " " " 

18 " " 13.5 " " " 2.46 " " " 

24 "brick sewers 16.8 " " " 4.08 " " " 

City of Fargo, under contract system. 
12 inch pipe sewers 14 feet deep, cost $1.20 per lineal foot. 

j_ << (I (( 1 <i << l< J g_ << u u 

18 " " " 16 " " " 2.11, " " " 

20 " " " 16 " " " 2.40 " " " 

24 " " " 12 " " " 1.80 " " " 

33 " brick " 17 " " " 4.74 " 

St. Paul under the contract system. 

12 inch pipe sewers 11 feet deep, cost $1.00 per lineal foot, 
J, II II (I _ II 11 II J II II II 

Q II IC II ^- II II II _ -.„ I( II II 

O 'J 

Brick sewers, $15 per thousand brick laid 

It will be noticed that, in a comparison between Fargo and 
Minneapolis, the latter city is quoted as doing its work by day 
labor and Fargo by contract. Fargo gets its work done, not only 
at a less rate per lineal foot but at a greater depth than Minne- 
apolis does. On the other hand, St. Paul has its work done as 
in Fargo, under competitive bids, for less than either of the cities 
quoted. That is, it looks so on the face but in fact, Fargo, under 
the contract system, gets its work — both in paving and sewers 
— for less money than either of the cities quoted in this paper. 
The reason for that, the difference in freight alone, between Fargo 


and the Twin Cities, makes a difference of not less than 20 per 
cent on the cost of the materials used, and the farther east you 
go, the greater will be the difference in that respect. There is 
still another feature that w'ill convince anyone that this statement 
is correct. In the quotation from the Twin Cities on sewer con- 
struction, I have taken only the sewers constructed in 1899, while 
in Fargo I have taken the cost of the entire system, from the con- 
struction of the first sewer to date, and it is a well-known fact with 
us, at least, that we now secure bids at a very much lower figure 
than at first. In fact, we have had 12-inch pipe sewers for 71 
cents per lineal foot and other sizes in porportion, while the average 
for the 12-inch, 14 feet deep, is Si. 20. 

WTiile I am a strong believer in the municipal ownership of 
all public service industries, such as water, lights, (either gas or 
electricity) street cars and other municipal monopolies, I cannot, 
with the light I now have, advocate the municipalities doing their 
owTi work. In reply to an inquiry, one of the most eminent engi- 
neers in the Northwest says that the greatest objection and the 
reason that contractors could compete with the cities, was on 
account of the character of the labor he was enforced to employ, 
the same being forced upon him by the aldermen of the different 
wards of his city, and I am satisfied that until municipal affairs 
can be divorced from politics and put upon a business basis, the 
same objections will apply. I trust that the day is not far distant 
when the affairs of the municipalities of the United States will be 
managed in the same manner and with the same care toward the 
taxpayers that large corporations are managed in the interest of 
the stock-holders (and the taxpayer is the stock-holder) and we 
are their managers and directors, and I am pleased to be able to 
say and say it truthfully, that the end sought for has been quickened 
very materially by the organization of the League of American 
Municipalities ; and we have just begun the great work that our 
fellow citizens have imposed upon us and those who will succeed 

144 J- A. JOHNSON 


Fargo, May 14, 1901. ~ 

It has been my good fortune to have met many associations 
which have honored us with their presence during the past five or 
six years, but I can truthfully say that at no time has it afiForded 
me greater pleasure to meet any of them than it does to meet you. 
The public owes to the press a debt that it can never fully repay ; 
to you, the Northwest owes much of its prosperity. You are 
called upon to use your columns and influence for all kinds of 
schemes, and if good, you are ready to lend a helping hand ; if bad 
you are ready to expose it, which is right and proper. My per- 
sonal experience with the press may not have been so great as 
may have been the case with a great many men, but what it has 
been has been exceedingly pleasant and I must confess that you 
have tieated me a great deal better than I deserve. 

I am pleased with the opportunity afforded me of greeiing you, 
and that you have selected Fargo as your place of meeting at this 
time. We think we have the greatest little city in the world, and 
we owe it to the pre.^s of the Northwest. When I say we have 
the biggest little city, I think I can substantiate it. Uncle Sam's 
enumerators gave us less than 10,000 last year, which, by the way, 
I think I can demonstrate is wrong but, be that as it may, Fargo 
is the only place in the United States of its size that can claim the 
distmction of havmg a post office that ranks as first class. There 
is only one place in the world that exceeds us as a distributing point 
for farm machinery. 

I assume that you have a program that includes a long list of 
speakers, so I shall not take up any more of your time. In the 
name of the citizens of Fargo ; I bid you welcome and invite you 
to meet here as often in the future as you can. 



Abercrombie, N. D., May 17, 1901. 

I fear your corresponding secretary has done your library 
an injustice in inviting me to address you and I know of no reason 
why you should be punished in listening to me (who am not an 
orator) when you might have been able to secure one who was. 

This day is celebrated in all parts of the civilized world, or 
wherever the hardy Norseman has found a home. He is patriotic 
and justly so ; while he remembers the land of his birth, he does not 
forget his loyalty to the land of his adoption ; as has been demon- 
strated in many fierce battles both on land and sea. Not only 
has he proven his loyalty to his adopted land in war, but he has 
demonstrated his ability to take a commanding position in the 
arts of peace and in the development of this great country. 

Wherever you find the Norseman, you find him among the 
leading men of the community ; you find him on the farm and in 
the work shop, you find him occupying chairs in our colleges; 
you find him in the learned professions, such as law and medicine. 
You find him in our state and national legislatures ; you find him 
in the executive chairs of our states and cities and in all of them 
you will find him. devoted to the duties devohdng upon him. 
You may go where you please and wherever he holds sway, as in 
the case of some of the counties not only of this but of other 
states, you will find no scandal connected with his administration 
of public affairs. 

The highest compliment I ever heard in behalf of any people 
I heard in the IMethodist Church at Fargo some years ago, when 
I heard Miss Preston, then, and I believe now, President of the 
Women's Christian Temperance Union where, in speaking of 
the attempt to have the prohibitory amendments to the constitu- 
tion resubmitted, she said that attempts had been made to use 
money on the Scandina\'ian members of our Legislature and that 
it had failed, although many of the members were in debt with 

146 J. A. JOHNSON 

mortgages on their homes and needed the money ; yet, in the face 
of the fact they might lose their homes, they preferred that to 
losing their honor. This was in direct contrast to what is said 
to have taken place repeatedly in some of our cities where other 
elements than the Scandinavian is in control. 

My Scandinavian friends in Fargo for some years have been 
kind enough to overlook the fact that I am not an orator and have 
invited me to address them on this, their national holiday ; at the 
times named I had never visited Norway — hence I could not feel 
for them as I think I now can. Since that time it has been my 
good fortune to not only have had the pleasure of visiting Norway, 
but Denmark and Sweden as well. The peoples of the three 
countries are of one blood and have practically a common history ; 
one that is a credit to all who have a drop of Scandinavian blood 
in his or her veins. 

It was your hardy ancestors and mine who were the pioneers 
of human liberty. Wherever the Scandinavian holds sway and 
left his descendants, you will find to-day the greatest measure of 
human liberty ; as will be seen in the Scandinavian countries, as 
well as in England and Scotland. 

It will take too long to tell you of what I saw and learned of 
Norway and other Scandinavian countries during my trip to 
Europe last winter, so I will confine myself to a few facts I gathered 
while there. At the top, I place education. They are the best 
educated of any people in the world; only six-tenths of one per 
cent over the age of ten years are unable to read and write and 
have acquired the rudiments of arithmetic. This is a distinction 
that not even this great country of ours can boast. Again, in 
Norway, and in fact, all the Scandinavian countries have, to all 
intents and purposes, full liberty and are ruled nominally by the 
Royal Government. In Norway they have universal suffrage, 
based on a small property or income qualification, and every man 
can aspire to the highest position in the land, save only that of 
actual ruler; the same as in this country a foreign born citizen 


cannot aspire to the Presidency. In all other respects he has the 
same opportunity, so far as the law can give it to him, that he has 
here. In Norway and Sweden, some of the men who hold impor- 
tant positions not only in the church, but in the navy and army, 
in the diplomatic and consular service as well as in their legislative 
assemblies and even in their cabinets, have been laboring men. 
The Archbishop of Sweden is the son of a private soldier; and 
one of the members of King Oscar's cabinet (so I was told) is the 
son of a common laborer. 

During my travels in Europe, I found natives of Norway as 
Consuls at Christiania, Norway; Gothenburg, Sweden and Rot- 
terdam, Holland. I also found a descendant of Norway as our 
Minister at Copenhagen, Denmark, and in each case I was 
proud of them, not only as representatives of the United States, 
but from the further fact that they and I had sprung from the 
same blood. 

The world is indebted to the Norwegians for the first real 
discovery of America. It is a well established fact, that they not 
only discovered what is now known as the American continent, 
centuries before Columbus landed on our shores, but actually 
made a settlement near Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts. 

I have no doubt but that Columbus became possessed of the 
fact of the existence of a continent here, from the fact of its dis- 
covery by the Norwegians, and that he used the knowledge to his 
own advantage. News of discoveries did not travel so fast in 
those days as in these; there were no ocean cables to transmit 
the news under the raging billows, nor land telephones or telegraphs 
to transmit it after emerging from the briny deep; it took years 
to circulate the news which would take but a few hours to-day. 
When Columbus found the secret of the Norwegian discoveries 
of a new world, he went at once to the most corrupt and super- 
stitious country and government of the time; between plying on 
their cupidity and superstition, he finally succeeded in securing 
funds with which to rediscover this new world of ours. I am one 

148 J. A. JOHNSON 

who believes in giving honor where honor is due, and for that 
reason I take off my hat to the Norwegian sailor as the actual 
discoverer of America. 

I wish to congratulate you on the steps you have taken to 
secure the library ; it is something which every community needs. 
By the establishment of a circulating library, those who have not 
the means of buying full libraries of their ovm, can have the use of 
a public library, which is his or her own for all practical purposes. 

I have been a "jack of all trades" and among others have 
tried the establishment of a library in Fargo. Last July I sent 
out 2,500 letters to Members of Congress, Senators, Cabinet, Army 
and Navy Officers, Governors of states. Mayors of cities, as well 
as to all the prominent railway officials ; asking each one to send 
one or more books for our library, and to sign their name in each 
book, thus making it to a large extent, an autograph library. I 
have received more than one book for every letter I sent out, and 
as I believe in "The Golden Rule" I take pleasure in leaving 
with your secretary, a volume for your library, and wish for you 
all the success that it is possible for anyone to have in yoiu" under- 


Lisbon, N. D., May 30, 1901. 

I doubt very much whether any of you have ever had an 
ex-Confederate soldier address you on your memorial day before. 
It was my misfortune to have served fifteen months in the Con- 
federate Army. I don't know as my personal experience as a 
Confederate soldier will interest you; but will take my chances, 
more especially so, as I served to some extent on the Union side 
before the war closed. 

The year before the breaking out of the Civil War, I had gone 
from Stillwater, Minn., to Texas. I arrived in Texas, Jan. 21, 
1861, just in time to get into trouble. One week after the battle 


of Bull [Run,^ I ^was waited on by a vigilance committee, com- 
posed of one native of New^ York, another of Indiana and the 
third, a native of Tennessee, and I want to say that the Tennessean 
treated me with the most consideration. Without tiring you with 
what took place between the committee and myself, I will simply 
say that I was informed that unless I would join the Confederate 
army, they would not be responsible for my life. Five men had 
been hung in the adjoining county the week before, for being 
Union men and having celebrated the Union victory of Bethel. 

I finally joined a company of Texas rangers, organized to 
defend Texas against the Indians. My company was afterward 
transferred to the Confederate service. We took part in various 
campaigns; the first against the Creek Indians and later, in the 
campaign that resulted in the battle of Pea Ridge, Arkansas. 
After the Pea Ridge campaign, we were dismounted and acted 
as infantry and were sent to Corinth, IVIississippi, to assist Beaure- 
gard against Gen. Grant. 

After the evacuation of Corinth, we went to Tupelo, where we 
camped for some time. From there, we were sent to Knoxville, 
Tenn., and from there across the mountains into Kentucky, 
where we took part in the battle of New Richmond, August 31st. 
There, I was transferred to the staff of Gen. Daniels of Georgia 
and served with him until I escaped, October 13, 1862. 

During my service in the Confederate army, I participated in 
four battles; namely, against the Creek Indians, Dec. 25, 1861; 
at Pea Ridge, Ark., March 4th, 5th, and 6th, at Farmington, 
Miss., May 9th, and at New Richmond, Ky., Aug. 31, 1862. I 
was wounded at Pea Ridge in the cavalry charge that Gen. Ben, 
McCuUough was killed in. 

I attempted to escape to Corinth, Miss., and got within two 
miles of Gen. Grant's picket line when I was captured by a 
Confederate out-post and taken back to Corinth. I found no 
opportunity to make another effort to get away, until Gen. Buell 
drove Gen. Bragg out of Kentucky, after the battle of Perryville. 


After my escape, as stated. I went to Indiana, where I entered the 
employ of the Ohio & Mississippi Railway and learned the trade 
of locomotive engineer and later on, in the South, I entered the 
service of the United States in that capacity, and served until the 
close of the war in Tennessee, Alabama, and Georgia. 

You will thus see that I saw as much of the war as fell to the 
most of the men who participated in it on either side of that 
great conflict. It is hardly necessary for me to tell you that my 
sympathy was with you ; and I want to say to you that if I had 
the power, I would pension every man who wore the Union 
uniform and had an honorable discharge to show for it, and I 
would make the pension large enough so you could at least live 
in comfort the balance of your days. 

The present generation cannot know what you and your 
comrades endured in those awful years from 1861 to 1865. No 
one who was not old enough to understand, and even those who 
saw nothing of the war itself, can appreciate your services and 
suffering. No country on earth has ever had such soldiers as you 
were, nor any who achieved such results as you did by your valor 
and patriotism. No one who took no part, or saw the sufferings 
you endured on the march under a burning sun, or wading through 
the mud and slush to your knees in winter, camping in and near 
fever breeding swamps, lying on battle fields, wounded and 
suffering, or racked with pain on the hospital cot with no one near 
or dear to sooth you with kind words and sympathy, can ever 
have any conception of what you endured. 

One of the saddest sights I have ever witnessed, was between 
Huntsville and Stevenson, Alabama. After the surrender of Gen. 
Lee, I was coming from Huntsville with a train of soldiers, going 
to Louisville to be mustered out. My train was flagged and after 
stopping, I went forward to see what the trouble was and found 
that the section ahead of me had been derailed, a common oc- 
currence; only this particular one had at least, one sad feature 
connected with it. One of the victims of that disaster was a young 

Undoubtedly a Coming Man. 

rruv AiE^>/ YOFvK 




Indianian, who had enlisted at the beginning of the war as a 
private; re-enHsted as a veteran; went home on a furlough and 
was married; he had only been at home two weeks and had left 
his bride to await his return. He had escaped the shot and 
shell of the Confederates and was killed on his way home to meet 
his bride. I saw him laid out and on his shoulders, he wore the 
shoulder straps of a captain. Just think what that meant for that 
poor girl-wife, in her Northern home? Yet it was only one of 
hundreds of thousands not, perhaps, all so striking, but the blow 
was as hard to bear for other mothers, wives and sisters, to say 
nothing of sweethearts, as it was to her. 

In all the wars of the world, either before or since the great 
Civil War in which you took such a prominent part, there has 
not been such men as composed the Union armies and it is certain 
that their superiors will never be seen and their only equals could 
be found among Americans and no other country could duplicate 

You have set an example for coming generations that for all 
times to come, human liberty will be safe. 

It has been my good fortune to have seen the armies of several 
of the European governments, and what I have seen can in no 
way compare with our boys in blue that offered their lives for the 
Starry Banner. You went to the front as patriots in defence of 
free government and human liberty; the armies of Europe stand 
for just the reverse of what you stood for. To begin with, they 
are nearly all conscripts, and not volunteers, as you were; they 
march against their enemies, not to defend a principle, but to 
defend the person or notions of some crowned head. You had 
a direct interest in the result; they have none. You were the 
sovereigns who fought the battles of your country; they are the 
puppets who have no interest in the conflicts and it makes no 
difference to them which side conquers; they wall be slaves of 
some Napoleon or William, no matter who wins. You shouldered 
your musket because human liberty and popular government 

152 J. A. JOHNSON 

was in peril; they shoulder their guns because some man, who, 
man for man, is no better than they are, may have some personal 
ambition or vs'ish to avenge, a personal pique who, by accident 
of birth, is their master. 

One of the things of my life that I regret above all others, is that 
I cannot be reckoned as one of your comrades. Had I not been 
foolish enough to have gone South in i860, I would now either 
have that honor; or you, or some one else would be putting 
flowers on my grave to-day. All honor to you and those who 
have received their last discharge; who bared your breasts to 
the storm of shot and shell in order that the Union might surWve. 
You are entitled to and -nUl receive, as your comrades have who 
have gone before you, have received ; the cro\sTi of glor}' promised 
in the Good Book to all who do their duty to their God and their 

I said that if I had the power, I would pension ever\' old 
soldier who had an honorable discharge. Some of you, no doubt, 
have had some experience in securing pensions justly your due. I 
■n-ill give you the experience of one of your comrades who we all 
love and respect. It is our mutual friend Major Edwards. He 
made an application for a pension that, like a great many others, 
hung fire a long time. During one of Cleveland's terms, he was 
in Washington and a friend introduced him to Commissioner 
Murphy, chief of the pension bureau. The friend told Mr. 
Murphy that the Major had an application in. Mr. Murphy told 
a clerk to get the papers, and, while the clerk was gone, Mr. 
Murphy told the Major that he was expected to make a Demo- 
cratic speech in Mar}land that evening and did not know what 
to say. Major Edwards told him to do as he, the Major, had 
been adNised to do. Mr. Murphy asked what that was, the Major 
said that he had been in\ited to deliver a memorial address in 
Tower City. The Major told the committee that he would be 
glad to do so, but did not know what to say. Some farmer on 
the committee told him to abuse Cleveland and that woiild 


please most of the boys and suggested that Mr. Murphy do the 
same. The Major expected it would make Mr. Murphy mad, 
but did not care. By this time the papers came back and Mr. 
Murphy, on examining them found six department reasons why 
the pension should not be granted. He took a pencil and crossed 
out all six and the result was that in less than thirty days, the 
Major not only got his pension, but about eight hundred dollars, 
back pension with it. I trust that those of you, who have not 
received your pensions will fare as well as our mutual friend did. 
. In conclusion I thank you all for the honor you did me in 
inviting me to appear before you to-day, and trust that your last 
days on earth will be peaceful ones, if any men have earned it 
you have. This peaceful valley resounded with the fearful war 
whoop of the Indian, during the dark days between 1861 and 
1865, and it may be that some of you who are here to-day were 
participants of the fearful Indian massacre of 1862. If such is the 
case, you are doubly blessed to live to see the day when it was 
turned from the haunts of the savage Indian to what it is to-day. 
It was appropriate that your comrade. Governor Burke, 
should assist in placing the North Dakota Soldiers Home where 
it is. No contrast could be greater than to look back to 1863 
when the Boys in Blue were driving the wild Sioux from here 
and to what it is to-day with peace and plenty surrounding you 


June, 1901. 

The history of Fargo, if fully written up, would be as thrilling 
as any Fargoite would wish. It would consist of two parts or 
chapters. Chapter one, would be from the first settlement to 
June 7, 1893, at the time of the great fire which nearly destroyed 
the entire city. The second chapter would be, from that time 
to the present. About 2 130 in the afternoon of June 7, 1893, the 
dread alarm of fire sounded. No particular attention was paid 


to it; we all knew we had a fire department that had no equal 
anywhere. But with the dry weather that had prevailed for some 
time previous, and the high wind, some sixty miles an hour, the 
fire soon got beyond control of the "Fire Laddies" and the re- 
sult was the destruction of over $3,500,000 of property in less 
than six hours' time. It was an awful time, but the citizens who 
had built up Fargo, were not discouraged, the bricks and debris 
had not cooled when you could see men removing the rubbish 
preparatory to the rebuilding of the New Fargo. The morning 
after the fire, Mayor Emerson H. Smith, called a meeting of 
the citizens to take steps to relieve those who had lost their all 
and were destitute and homeless, more than $4,000 were subscribed 
by the men who, themselves, had been heavy losers the day 
before. That was the crucial test of Fargo and that she stood it 
is evidenced by Fargo of to-day. Since that time Fargo has 
doubled in population, and doubled, yes, more than trebled in 
business, and stands forth to-day as the model city of not only 
the Northwest, but the whole country. Fargo has the distinc- 
tion of being the smallest city in the United States that has a 
Post Oflace which ranks first class. 

The great fire was a forerunner of what has since become 
known as the "Fargo Fire Festival." It may be well to say a 
few words about the origin of it. On June the 7th, 1894, the 
Shriners met in their hall to compare notes of what had been 
accomplished in the past year. Someone — I think it was Hon. 
Frank J, Thompson — suggested that we go out for a parade. 
Mr. George R. Freeman secured some walking canes, some music 
was secured and Capt. Cornwall was mounted on a jackass, 
that was roaming the streets, and about forty Shriners started. 
The next year much more was added to it ; in 1896, it had assumed 
such proportions that the parade was about one mile long. In 
1897 other societies were invited to participate, which they did 
with credit to themselves. The parade that year was one and 
a half miles long. In 1899, the city council took the matter up 


and made it a permanent feature by appointing a permanent 
committee, consisting of the mayor, the senior alderman of each 
ward, and the presiding ofhcers of the various secret societies. 
It was found in the later years, that one day was not sufficient, 
so we have had it three days, and it will be held three days this 
year; viz., June 5th, 6th, 7th, next. Among the features that 
we expect to have here, are the following: Free vaudeville street 
shows, tight rope walking, parade of the secret societies, school 
children from all schools and colleges of Fargo and Moorhead, 
and the industrial parade ; we also expect to secure the First Regi- 
ment of the North Dakota National Guard and the Spanish War 
veterans. Steps looking in that direction are now on foot, and we 
do not anticipate a failure. On the night of June 6th, will be held 
the street carnival where it is expected more than 2,000 will 
appear en mask. We expect to have eight bands of music here 
and they will give a massed band concert. 

Above are only a very few of the features that we expect to 
have for the entertainment and amusement of our guests. 


Jamestown, N. Y., August 21, 1901. 

Reply to Address of Welcome 

I wish to congratulate you on this, your fifth annual conven- 
tion. The past year has been a prosperous one for our organiza- 
tion; The report of the secretary will show a marked increase 
in membership over what it was when we met in Charlestown in 
December last. The membership consists of cities ranging in 
population from 3,000 to 3,000,000; thus showing that we are 
adapted to all classes of municipalities. That it has met with a 
hearty welcome by municipal officers is shown by the fact that 
thirty-eight states of the Union, as well as two provinces in Cana- 
da, are represented in its roll of membership. 

The league, like all others of its kind, which are organized for 


the benefit of the general public, has met with a great deal of 
opposition from parties whose interest it was, and is, to belittle 
its influence and work. There have been other organizations 
formed in the interest of certain municipal subjects, but ours 
is the only one ever organized that has taken that has taken in all 
matters of municipal administration by oflScials who have work 
to perform and who are familiar with its many complex duties 
and responsibilities and know the needs of their various cities. 
You are devoting your time and energies for the benefit of yovir 
fellow men without even hope of approbation, to say nothing of 
reward. That must come to you in the consciousness of having 
done your full duty by the people who have trusted you and 
honored you by placing you in the responsible position you occupy. 

Its Work Just Begun 

The census of 1900 shows that the urban population of the 
United States has increased from 12,936,110 to 28,411,698 in the 
past twenty years, and that the percentage of population living 
in cities has increased from 25.8 to 37.3 per cent during the same 
time, or an increase of 11.5 per cent. It also shows that in 1890, 
there were 580 places of 4,000 population, or more, while in 1900 
it had increased to 1,158 or almost doubled. Of the urban popu- 
lation, the census discloses that 14,208,347 live in cities of 100,000 
or over, and that 14,131,351 live in cities between 4,000 and 
100,000. Again nearly one half of the urban population live in 
the smaller cities. 

These are startling figures. When we come to consider the 
towns of from 1,000 to 4,000, we will find that nearly one half 
of the population of the U. S. live under municipal governments 
and demand of their officials all the improvements and con- 
veniences the larger cities afford the citizens. With these facts 
staring us in the face it behooves us, and those who succeed us, . 
to do all in our power to secure the co-operation of every munici- 
palityMn the country to join us in the good work so well begun 


by you. The organization of The League of American Munici- 
palities has already saved millions of dollars to the taxpayers of 
the United States since its organization, in the cost of paving 
and lights alone, and we have just begun. 


BufiFalo, N. Y., August 26, 1901, 

(By special Request Delivered at Osklaloosa, Iowa, October 
10, 1901.) 


I feel very much honored at being invited to come from one 
of the newer states and one of the smallest cities in the Northwest, 
to address this august assembly; and much more so from the 
fact that some of the gentlemen who invited me to appear before 
you know that I am not an orator, in any sense of the word. 

The subject I have chosen is one which is now agitating the 
municipal world, not only in the United States and Canada, 
but Europe, as well. The subject of "the municipal owner- 
ship" of public utilities is, to my mind, one of the greatest before 
the American people to-day. The census of 1900 discloses the 
urban population of the United States had increased from 12,936,- 
iio in 1880 to 28,411,396 in 1900, and the percentage from 
twenty-five and eight tenths m 1880, to thirty-seven and three 
tenths in 1900 ; that is for cities of over 4,000 inhabitants. When 
we take into consideration incorporated cities under 4,000, we 
will find that nearly one half of the entire population are living 
under municipal governments. Of the population living in 
cities of over 100,000, we find 14,208,347 and in cities from 4,000 
to 120,000; 14,151,351 thus we find that nearly one half live in 
cities of between 4,000 and 100,000. We also find that cities 
of between 4,000 and 100,000, have increased in numbers from 
580 to 1,158 between the years named. With these startling 

158 J. A. JOHNSON 

facts before us we, as officers elected to represent the people, 
must do all we can to give, not only the best service but the best 
service at the least possible cost to the taxpayers who have hon- 
ored us with their confidence and have placed us in positions of 
trust and honor. To do this, we must ascertain what is best to 
be done. There are certain natural monopolies that belong to 
the people as a whole, among which is water, lights, transporta- 
tion, street cars and other public conveyances and telephones. 
These are now necessities; a few years ago, some of them were 
considered luxuries. If there is any profit to be derived in the 
possession of any, or all, of these natural monopolies, the same 
should be given to their rightful owners, the people. In the cases 
of the cities I propose to quote, the figures are taken from the 
records as are shown in their official reports and contracts and 
can be relied on. ^ In each and every case where the waterworks, 
gas-works, or any other monopoly have been acquired from a 
private corporation, the rates have been reduced from what was 
charged by the private corporation. In each case, all the ex- 
penses incident to operations, including interest, depreciation, 
sinking funds, loss of taxes, insurance, labor and all other ex- 
penses, are included in the cost, unless otherwise noted. The 
net profits derived is what would go to the private stockholders 
as a dividend, if a private corporation. That now goes to re- 
duce the taxes of the citizens of the cities which I will name. It 
was my good fortune to spend three months last winter in Europe 
and while there, I devoted such part of my time, as I could spare, 
investigating municipal afi'airs. Among the cities I investigated 
to a greater or less extent, I can name Christiania, Norway. 
Stockholm and Gothenburg, Sweden; Copenhagen, Denmark; 
Berlin, Germany; Amsterdam, Holland; Brussels, Belgium; 
Paris, France; Liverpool, England and Glasgow, Scotland. 
Each of the cities named, own nearly all of the monopolies named 
above. Time will not permit going into details on all the places 
named, so I will select Glasgow and Amsterdam. I select these 


cities for two reasons, one is, that they are among the pioneers 
that have adopted municipal ownership, and the other is for 
the reason that both the Scotch and the Dutch are known to be 
conservative and weigh every enterprise well before they embark 
in it. I will not go into detail as to the various items that cover 
the expenses. 

As stated before, they cover everything that a private cor- 
poration would charge up as a part of the expense. 


The following is the report for the year ending May i, 1900, 
the last obtainable when I was in Europe : 

Water-works. Cost of plant $10,646,725. 60 

Revenue derived $ 1,061,800. 65 

Expenses of all kinds $ 913,170.65 

Net profit $ 148,630.00 

Gas Works. Cost of plant $ 7,004,605 . 00 

Revenue derived $ 3,850,010.30 

E.xpenses of all kinds $ 3,459,830. 72 

Net profit $ 390,242.92 

Street car system. Cost of plant $ 4,685,165 . 00 

Revenue derived $ 2,349,815.00 

Expenses of all kinds $ 2,126,710.34 

Net profits $ 223,105. 16 

At that time, the report I have quoted from the city of Glasgow 
had just established a municipal telephone system. The only 
report of the same, which was obtainable was the price charged 
for the service. For an unrestricted service, including Glasgow 
and thirteen near by cities the fee was $26.25 per annum. If a 
restricted service is wanted it is $16.50 per annum and an addi- 
tional two cents each time you call up the central office for con- 

The municipal lighting plant had just been established and 
showed very little profit. The charge for service, however, is 

i6o J. A. JOHNSON 

very low as for example, an eight candle power incandescent 
lamp is but $i .04 per year. For power for manufacturing and for 
other purposes the charge is from 3 to 4 cents per killowatt and 
for metre rates, from 6 to 7 cents for same lighting. 

In making computations, I have calculated the British pound 
sterling at $5.00. 


Following is the report ending Dec. 31, 1899, which is the 
latest to be obtained as late as June 15th, this year: 

Municipal Telephone. Cost of plant $ 617,190. 17 

Revenues derived $ 119,502. 27 

Expenses of all kinds $ 67,179.10 

Paid, City of Amsterdam $ 20,100. 00 

Extra profits $ 32,223.17 

Profit $ 52,323.17 

Water-works. Cost of plant $ 4,824,000. 00 

Revenues derived $ 596,452. 21 

Expenses of all kinds $ 562,252. 21 

Net Profits $ 40,200. 00 

Municipal Gas Works. Cost of plant $ 6,914,400. 00 

Revenues derived $ 1,372,716.42 

Expenses of all kinds $ 1,142,698.89 

Net profit $ 230,071 . 53 

It is conceded, both by citizens, as well as the former owners 
of the water-works ; that the present service is equal, if not better, 
than under a private corporation and the rates have been greatly 

On January i, 1900, the city of Amsterdam took possession of 
the street railways that had formerly been owned by "The 
Amsterdam Omnibus Company" horse power has been in use. 
When I was there last March, their were advertising for bids to 
change to electric power, the council having appropriated the sum 
of $2,400,000 for that purpose. The city had increased the 
service by adding about 25 per cent in cars, as well as employees 


since taking possession. No report could be obtained for the 
city had operated it, as late as June 15th, this year. 

Without taking up the time to go into further details on the 
subject of municipal ownership in Europe, I can not help but 
quote a few figures from England, on gas companies. There 
are 436 private corporations with authorized capitalization of 
$308,857,060 and a paid up capital of $256,530,970. 

The total revenue for the last year reported was $ 67,237,850.00 

Total expense for the same time was $ 49,614,110.00 

Leaving profits or dividends $ 17,623,740. 00 

There was at the same time, 212 owned by municipali- 
ties with an authorized cost of $152,699,211.00 

And paid up $136,881,520. 00 

Total revenue for the last year reported was $ 33,799)415 • °° 

Total expense for the same time $ 25,293,525.00 

Leaving profit to tax payers $ 8,505,890. 00 

The private corporations have 1,549,627 consumers and the 
municipal plants have 1,475,749 consumers. 

The private gas works manufactured 84,040,175,901 cubic 
feet of gas. 

The private gas works had 15,509 miles of mains while the 
municipal had 9,648 miles of mains. 

It will be noticed that while the private companies outnumber 
the municipal plants more than two to one, they have only 72,878 
more consumers than the municipal plants and of the public or 
street lights they only exceed the municipal plants by 85,099. 
These computations like those before quoted are based on the 
English pound sterling at $5 .00. 

I will not take up any more of your time quoting results from 
European cities. My only object in doing so was to show what 
has been done, and what the results have been in other cities and 

With your permission I will make a few quotations from 
American cities and from Winnipeg, Manitoba. 

i62 J. A. JOHNSON 


It is a city of over 50,000 and is one of the wonders of Western 
American life, and especially of the North-west. It is but a few 
years since it was an Indian trading-post, one of the many estab- 
lished by the Hudson Bay Company. It owns its own water- 
works and street lighting plant. This year, Water and Light 
Commissioner Hon. James Stewart writes me as follows: "The 
city purchased the old water-works from a private corporation at 
a cost of $237,000 and after doing so constructed a new system 
incorporating the mains of the old system into it. This new 
system includes artesian well, new pumping station and two Worth- 
ington steam pumps of 5,000,000 gallons capacity, each and about 
45 miles of mains varying from 20 inches to 6 inches in diameter, 
(in addition to the 23 miles of old main) at a cost of $550,000, the 
water rates charged by the company ha\e been reduced 50 per cent 
since the city commenced to operate. 

"The city owns its street lighting plant but as yet does not do 
commercial lighting. Our incandescent lighting is confined to the 
municipal building, viz., the city hall, city market, police station, 
fire halls and public library. On bright moonlight nights the 
lights are not on. During the last year the street lights were burn- 
ing 326 nights and the result of the year's operation show? the cost 
per light per night to be 20 cents, including the lighting of the 
municipal buildings. Our last contract for lighting we paid 47 
cents per night to a private corporation. 

"The cost of the lighting plant for 300 arc lights of 2,000 candle 
power and incandescent plant with capacity of 1,000 lights of 
16 candle power is $60,000." 

I am personally familiar with both the water-works and 
lighting plants of Winnipeg, having seen them during their con- 
struction as well as since completion, and I can say without hesi- 
tation that no city is served either with water or light any better 
than Winnipegjs. 



Municipal Water Works. Cost not given. 

Total length of mains, 143.42 miles. 

Total number of hydrants, 1,347. 

Average number of gallons pumped in a day, 11,812,084. 

Cost of coal per 1,000,000 gallons, $4.08. 

Cost of operating plant one year, $27,911 . 55. 

Municipad Lighting plant. Cost $192,067.41 

Depredation 12 months $ 4>9°i-°5 

Interest $ 5,000.00 

Taxes $ 1,000.00 

$ 11,557-05 

Operating expenses $ i9'855-97 

Grand total for one year $ 31,557.02 

From above following cost per lamp is taken for one year : 

Operating only $ 40-73 

Operating and interest $ 50-97 

Operating, interest and depreciation $ 64.72 

Mayor George R. Perry of Grand Rapids, Michigan, wTites 
me the following: "In former years, it has cost this city 45 thous- 
and dollars for the lighting of its streets. We are now giving our 
citizens a light which is fully 25 per cent better with an increase 
in the number of lamps and show a saving to the city of $22,000 
for the past year; we formerly paid S107 per lamp, per annum." 

Many of you know Mayor Peny, and none of you will doubt 
his statements. 


City Clerk C. F. Sheppard writes me that the city owns its 
own lighting plant, that it does not own the water-works. It 
rents hydrants for fire protection from the Hanibol Water Com- 

The lighting plant costs to date $61,000. That includes both 
arc and incandescent systems. The city does commercial lighting 
as well as street lighting. The receipts for the year ending May 
31, 1901, was Si, 661 .78. Estimated cost of lighting public 
buildings $600 which makes the earning capacity at $16,261.13. 

Total expenses connected with the lighting plant including 

i64 J. A. JOHNSON 

interest on bonds, was for some time the sum of $17,607.78. 
Leaving the cost for lighting the streets the sum of $1,236.65 for 
102 arc lights, or the sum of $13.20 per light per year. 


The population of Jamestown is about 22,000. The last 
meeting of the League of American Municipalities was held there 
August 21-24 last. 

Jamestown owns its own electric light plant, and is now 
arranging to construct water-works, the city does some commer- 
cial lighting. The cost of the electric light plant Feb. 28th, last 
was $62,000. The cost of operating for the year ending February 
28th last was $13,717.91. The profits derived from commercial 
lighting was $2,887 -88. Leaving the net cost for 298 arc lamps 
of 2,000 candle power each all night and every night the sum of 
$10,830 .03 or $36.36 per lamp per year. 


A city of 20,000 population. City Clerk A. D. Fauster writes 
that the city owns its electric plant, that it cost $135,000. They 
do commercial lighting and charge 6 cents per kilo watt. The 
arc lights, 2,000 candle power all and every night, $65 per year. 

It also owns its water plant having constructed same but Mr. 
Fauster does not give the cost or any information concerning same. 


Is a city of 12,000 population. It is one of the historic places 
of the middle west. In answer for information that I wrote City 
Clerk Charles Langel. I cannot commend him for intelligence. 
To many of my inquiries he answers don't know, even to the 
question of the kind of power used. He only gives me the cost of 
rental of hydrants and arc lamps, viz., the city pays $63.90 per 
lamp for 2,000 candle power arc and $70.00 pei year per hydrant 
for fire protection. The arc lights are all and every night in the 



Has a population of 10,000. Owns its own electric plant 
and does commercial lighting;. Rents power, water, from a dam 
company, at $3 per horse-power — from the letter received from 
City Clerk F. E. Low, under date of Sept. 25. I infer that the 
city pays $3 per month per horse-power from the dam company. 
The arc lights of 2,000 candle power burning all and every night 
costs $6 per month, for domestic lighting. The plant costs 
$60,000 at the present time. 


It would be difficult to find a better illustration of the municipal 
ownership when handled as a business proposition than can be 
found in Saint Paul. City Comptroller Capt. J. J. McCardy 
gives the following information : Bought the water-works from a 
private corporation in 1882 for $500,000. Cost at the present 
time $6,478,751.48. Ha\ang reduced water rates 75 per cent from 
the rates charged by the private company. Paid $60 per year per 
hydrant to private company, we now pay $30 to the board of water 

Secretary John Caulfield, who has a national reputation as a 
water works accountant, writes me as follows: 

" No bonds have been issued by the city of Saint Paul for 
water works purposes since May ist, 1890. Our surplus earnings, 
notwithstanding the great reduction in rates, have been sufficient 
to pay the interest on all bonds issued for water works purposes, 
including the purchase of the works, general maintenance, re- 
pairs, and in addition thereto the following sums have been ex- 
pended for permanent betterments from December 31, 1891; 
City extensions, pipe, hydrants, etc., $521,185.71; Construction 
account, works out side of the city including conduits, canals, 
pumping stations, etc., $351,767.43. Total $872,953.14. 

" In addition to this, a sinking fund has been created since 1891, 
which now amounts to $688,195. This is the face value of the 

i66 J. A. JOHNSON 

bonds which have been purchased for this fund. They bear in- 
terest at the rate of from 3 to 4^ per cent. Of course a large 
premium has been paid for the purchase of these bonds but above 
represents the face value only. In addition to the above, the de- 
partment has purchased $18,000 of water works bonds which have 
been cancelled. No comment is necessary on above quotations. " 

I addressed a letter of inquiry and enclosed stamped envelope 
for reply to the following cities, viz.. Bowling Green, Ky., Pom- 
eroy, Marietta, and London, Ohio, Big Rapids, Mich., Decatur, 
111., Lebanon, Penn., with out receiving any reply. From infor- 
mation which is believed to be reliable I make the following quo- 
tations, viz. 

Bowling Green population 10,000, coal $1.28 per ton, munici- 
pal ownership arc lights 2,000 candle power all and every night 
$56.03 per year. Pomeroy, population 6,000, coal 87 cents per 
ton private ownership arc lights 2 ,000 candle power all and every 
night $89.00 per year. Marietta, population 9000, coal $1.81 per 
ton municipal ownership arc lights 2000 candle power, all and 
every night $44.50 per year. Lebanon, population 18,000, coal 
$1.55 per ton, private ownership, arc lights all and every night 
$91.50 per year. Decatur, population 27,000, municipal owner- 
ship arc lights all and every night, including 7^ depreciation, etc., 
$50.00 per year. Big Rapids, population 6000, water power pri- 
vate ownership arc lights all and every night $41.00 per year. 

From the last reports I have been able to see I quote the fol- 
lowing: Buffalo, N. Y., private ownership, power from Niagara 
Falls, has over 2000 arc lights, all and every night pays $100.00 
per year. Davenport, Iowa, 422 lights all and every night private 
ownership, pays $56.00 per year. Coal $1.35 per ton. Des 
Moines, Iowa, 183 lights at $75.00 per year, and 129 lights at 
$65.00 per year. Coal $1.00 per ton. Private ownership. East 
St. Louis, 111., 144 lamps, private ownership, coal $1.25 per 
ton, arc lights all and every night $100.00 per year. Chicago, 111., 
531 lamps, coal $2.00 per ton private ownership arc lamps all and 


every night S108 per year. Fort Wayne, Ind., 260 lamps, coal 

$2.00 per ton, private owTiership arc lamps all and every night, 

$100.00 per year. All the lamps quoted are of 2000 candle power. 

I also make the following brief quotations, from the latest 

reports I have been able so secure, \iz., 

Lamps. Per Year. 

Allentown, Penn 142* $100. 00 

Aurora, 111 2o6t 68.54 

Denver, Col 950* 100.00 

Bay City, Mich 209! 53 • 25 

Ho't Springs, Ark 32* 180. 00 

Columbus, Ind 82! 58-08 

Hutchinson, Kans 34* 100.00 

Goshen, Ind i25t 48.26 

Haverhill, Mass loi* 125.00 

Newark, Ohio 295t 48.64 

Kansas Citv, Mo 100* no. 00 

Rochelle, lU 4ot 55-22 

Lowell, Mass 469* 120.45 

St. Joseph, Mo 369t 63 . 79 

Leadville, Col 40* 102 . 00 

Sherman, Texas 64t 63 . 00 

New Orleans, La 1,633* 127.50 

Titusville, Penn 264! 57-94 

Natchez, Miss 100* 102 . 00 

Wheeling, W. Va 46ot 67.00 

Omaha, Neb 333* 114-5° 

Marion, Ind 116 53-95 

Providence, R. 1 1,891* 127.75 

Batavia, N. Y io8t 65.22 

Sacramento, Cal 330* 123.00 

Dunkirk, N. Y 75t 63.38 

Schenectady, N. Y 203* 103 . 00 

Little Rock, Ark 2i2t 60.28 

Salem, Mass 180* 130.00 

♦Private Ownership. fMunicipal Ownership. 

We have a population of between 11,000 and 12,000. We 
own our water works, having purchased them from a private cor- 
poration. We reduced the rates more than 50 per cent., from 
what the private corporation had charged. The water works 
cost us at the present time §67,477. Under private ownership 
we paid $100.00 per year per hydrant for fire protection for the 

i68 J. A. JOHNSON 

first hundred hydrants and $80.00 per hydrant per year for any in 
excess of one hundred. We now have 146 hydrants and 19 miles 
of water mains. ~ 

Last year even with the reductions mentioned above the works 
were not only self sustaining but in addition to giving free water 
for fire protection, water for flushing sewers and for contract on 
street work, and also for flooding skating rinks in the winter time, 
we had a surplus of $5,310.08, nearly eight per cent on the entire 
investment. You can readily see that we have no cause to regret 
our investment. We now have a pumping capacity of 4,500,000 
gallons per day. 

We do not own our electric lighting plant. We rent light from 
the Fargo-Edison Company at $59.88 per year for 2000 candle 
power arc lights all and every night service. Prior to my election 
as Mayor in 1896, the Council had made a contract for ten years. 
The Supreme Court declared the contract void, the Council hav- 
ing exceeded its power in making it. Our charter prohibits the 
making a contract for more than one year, and for granting any 
franchise for longer period than 20 years. It prevents the Mayor 
and Council from giving away valuable franchises for an indefi- 
nite time. 

Many cities who have done so have had cause to regret the 
same when too late. We have been too anxious to secure conven- 
iences and have by so doing been giving millions of dollars which 
belonged to the tax payers, 

I would like to make a suggestion, which if you deem it worthy 
you can take into consideration. From the establishment of the 
first water works to the present day, and in all countries, the system 
of collecting water rents at stated intervals has been in vogue. 
That applies whether they are under private or municipal owner- 
ship. Don 't you think it about time to make a change ? Every 
thing has improved in the past fifty years, why not try and make 
improvements in that ? Why not give free water to every inhabi- 
tant of your city who wish to make connections with your mains ? 


Water is one of the necessities of life, as much as is air, it should 
be had, not only of the best quality, but in abundance. There 
should be no restriction in its use, there should of course be no 
waste. The idea that you should not sprinkle your lawn only at 
certain hours of the day, when at the same time it may be burning 
up with drouth, is to say the least, preposterous, a nice green well 
kept lawn is not only a thing of beauty, but its sanitary benefits 
are worth to the citizens many times more than it cost to pump 
the water to keep it green. 

To secure free water I would suggest that a general taxation 
be levied on all real and personal property subject to taxation in 
the city, the same as taxes for other general purposes are levied. 
It would not add to exceed 3)^ mills to the tax in cities of from 
10,000 to 15,000 and less than that in larger places, that would 
include free water for use of the citizens as well as for fire protec- 
tion and other purposes. It may be claimed that by so doing, you 
will do injustice to the large office buildings, and large commercial 
houses. I do not agree in that, for the tax paid is worth all it costs 
for fire protection, if nothing else. Under the present system, the 
classes of buildings referred to do not pay enough, and the defic- 
iency is made up from the rates charged the householders. The 
other way it would equalize it much better than under the present 

Quotations could be made indefinately, but time will not 
permit going into it any farther at this time. I am a firm believer 
in the public ownership of all the natural monopolies. I think 
they should be owned and controlled in the interest of the public. 
By so being it would stop all charges of corruption that is so often 
made, and I regret to say are so many times proven against the 
city officials. By the municipalities owning the same, it would 
be impossible to corrupt any one; a city cannot corrupt its own 
citizens ; there would be no incentive to do so. I am forced how- 

(XOTE — Had Mr. Johnson lived, he intended to pursue this for the 
benefit of the general public.) 


ever to admit, that so long as we pursue the present method of 
changing our officials and appointees with each change of adminis- 
tration, it would possibly be a failure, but if civil service is adopted, 
it will prove as much of a success here as it has proven in Europe. 
No man who makes a good officer in any one of the departments 
above named should feel that his retention depended upon his 
support or opposition to any man or party. He should feel free to 
support or oppose whom he pleased, and be as independent as is 
the clerk or book-keeper who differs politically from his employer. 
Not one of you would think of discharging one of your trusted 
employees because he did not vote as you did, or support the man 
or party you do. There is no reason why he should he dismissed 
from a public position for the same offense. In fact, to my mind, 
it is all the more reason why he should be retained. 

I will not admit because a man is elected mayor, or secures 
an appointment on some board, that he has either a legal or a 
moral right to punish a man who is efficient, by dismissal, simply 
because he differs with him politically. The old cry "to the victor 
belongs the spoils, " must be eliminated from municipal affairs, if we 
are to have what the citizens demand, and are entitled to receive, 
viz; an honest and economical administration of public affairs. 

I believe in the municipal ownership of public utilities. I 
may not live to see the day when it will be firmly established in the 
United States, but there are many within the sound of my voice, 
who will live to see it. You may as well attempt to stop the revo- 
lution of the earth, as to attempt to stop public ownership of the 
natural monopolies that of right belong to the public only. I will 
admit that what has been successfully accomplished in nearly 
every country in Europe, cannot be accomplished here. In fact 
when we take hold of it in earnest, we will do it so much better 
than has been done in Europe that they will send delegations over 
here to study our municipal governments, as they are now with 
our manufacturing, banking, farming and other American business 
interests and methods of industries. 

The Little One — " Hi, There! Get Out of the Road, 
OR I'll Run Over You." 


It is but a short time since, that a man who advocated the 
public ownership of such utiUties as are mentioned by me, was 
considered a subject for an insane asylum. That day has ceased 
to exist. Some of the brightest minds in our broad land, favor it, 
and it is not confined to theorists, by any means, you will find them 
in all walks of life. It is not confined to municipal officers. It 
is men who think for themselves and who do not permit interested 
parties to think for them. From my acquaintance among munici- 
pal officers, I have become convinced that a large majority favor 
municipal ownership of public utilities, and they have been con- 
verted to that theory by personal experience in municipal affairs. 

If you will compare the scale of prices given by private corpora- 
tions with what it costs the municipalities for the same service, you 
will see that there is a great saving to the people in the public 
ownership. In many cases amounting to nearly one-half of what 
it had been when the cities have acquired it from a private 


Fargo, November 29, 1901. 

I feel very much honored at receiving an invitation from your 
beloved pastor to meet with you this evening. This congregation 
is composed of members who came from the same land that gave 
me birth. A land that no one need feel ashamed of springing 
from. Wherever you find Scandinavians, whether they come 
from Sweden, Norway or Denmark, you find them among the 
church and school house. 

It is with a good deal of pride, that we can point to the fact that 
the Swedish population is the most highly educated people in the 
world. Less than six tenths of i per cent., of the entire popula- 
tion are unable to read, write, and have the rudiments of arithme- 
tic. A larger proportion of the Swedish population have acquired 
the higher branches of classical and scientific education than any 
other people living. 

172 J. A. JOHNSON 

You may search history and you will find they have done their 
share for the upbuilding and enlightenment of the human race. 
You will find they have been pre-eminent — not only as soldiers, 
and sailors, but in all scientific lines as well. You find them as 
scholars and statesmen, as poets, painters, and sculptors, as emi- 
nent in the sacred calling of the ministry of the Gospel. 

Sweden has given to the world the most famous singers in 
Jenny Lind, and Christine Nillson. Linnaeus stands today as the 
best known authority in botany. It was to a Sweaish-American 
citizen, in John Erickson that the world owes the invention of the 
propeller and many other useful inventions; but his greatest 
fame rests on the invention of the Monitor. That not only saved 
the Atlantic Coast cities from bombardment — during our civil 
war — by the terrible confederate Ram Merrimac, but it revolu- 
tionized naval warfare. When that great man died tlie United 
States Government recognized his worth by sendmg his remams 
back to rest in the land that gave him birth, on one of its war ves- 
sels, built on the new method of naval wariare. It placed the 
magnificent cruiser, Baltimore, at the disposal of his remains 
and they were conveyed to Sweden on her. That is a distmction 
that no other foreign born citizen's remains had ever been con- 
ferred on. 

We hav^e reason to be proud of our native hind, but we have 
left that and come to this much greater one, and it behooves us to 
remember — that while we may love the kind that gave us birth, 
as we love our parents, it is our duty to give our undivided allegi- 
ance to the land of our adoption. This great land has bidden us 
welcome, has given us every preferment that it gives the naiive 
born citizen, with one single exception — a foreign born citizen 
can not become either Vice-President or President, and ihat is a 
wise provision indeed. 

If you will read American History you will find that men who 
were born in this country, that as the most of us present to-night 
were born — you will find that they have occupied important 


positions in the army and navy, in the halls of congress and legis- 
lature, in the judiciary and have graced Governors chairs — you 
m\\ find them in our schools, academies, colleges and universities ; 
you will find them in the various learned professions, in the em- 
chanical arts and on the farms, and always as good and lawabiding 
citizens. to this glorious land as the most of us did, rot 
knowing either the language or customs, and poor, for it must be 
admitted that the large majority of the Scandinavian emigrants 
are poor when they leave their native land — having been given 
the opportunity to better our condition, it is our bounden duty to 
become lawabiding citizens ; when the country needs us we not 
only must but will, in the future as we have in the past, bare our 
breasts to the storm of shot and shell in defense of our Starry Ban- 


The Record, December, 1901. 

Only parts of this writing are copied here. 

It is known in every part of North America, yes, and in Europe, 
as one of the most progressive and up-to-date municipalities in the 
United States. What Fargo is and does, is quoted oftener in the 
press of the country than any city in the United States of five times 
its population. It is the financial, commercial, educational and 
religious headquarters for the new Northwest, and it is a source 
of pride to every citizen in the state. 

Our hotels are up-to-date in every way; modern, well built, 
well ventilated, steam heated and electric lighted, with water and 
sewer connections, making not only elegant but comfortable homes 
for the traveler. 

Fargo has always had the very best newspapers in the new 
northwest, and we owe them very much for our present prosperity. 
Not only does Fargo owe this to its newspapers, but North Dako- 
ta is equally indebted to them. They have labored early and late, 
in season and out of season, and always for the good of our city 

174 J. A. JOHNSON 

and state. We have to-day the best newspapers in the North- 
west, west of the Twin Cities. It would he hard to find a town 
the size of Fargo with two such papers as The Fargo Forum, an 
evening paper and The Call, a morning paper. While Fargo 
can point with pride to her newspapers, the very necessary ad- 
juncts that go with them to make the printing business complete 
is furnished by four immense job printing establishments. The 
oldest being Walker Brothers and Hardy. Brown and Gage, 
both members are "old timers" in Fargo. Porte and Company 
and the Knight Printing Company, and I venture to say that 
Fred Knight, the manager, probably knows more county officials 
than any other man in the state. 

Fargo is the Mecca for secret and fraternal organizations, as 
nearly every lodge and organization known is represented here. 

Professionally, Fargo leads as in everything else. Its lawyers 
and doctors stand at the very head of their respective professions. 
Their cases in court and in surgery and medicine are quoted far 
and wide. 

We have more paved streets than any city in the world of equal 

The question of establishing a public library had been agitated 
for sometime. In the spring of 1900, the city council submitted 
the same to the voters as provided by law. It was voted almost 
unanimously in favor of the establishment of a public library. 
In August, the same year, I sent out 2,500 letters to prominent 
people, asking each to send one or more books to the Fargo Public 
Library. In reply to the letters I sent I received and turned over 
to the library board before January i, 1901, 1,399 bound and 
798 unbound books. I have delivered more since then which 
have come during 1901. That was the way the library started, 
now to get a building was the next problem but with the able help 
of Congressman B. F. Spalding, Andrew Carnegie was induced 
to donate $20,000, on condition that city appropriate $2,500 
annually for its maintenance. That condition the council ac- 


cepted and the appropriation was made this year. One feature 
that will always be interesting in connection with the library will 
be the "Memorial Hall" for the G. A. R. to hold their meetings 
in, on the understanding that mementoes of the Civil War, now 
owned by the Post shall be left permanently in the building. It 
will make one of the most valuable historical collections in the 


Crookston, Minn., January 29, 1902. 

WTien I arrived here yesterday morning, the idea that I would 
be requested to address you, except to invite you to hold your next 
meeting in Fargo, had never entered my mind. To begin with, 
let me congratulate you on the success you have attained in your 
association since its organization in Fargo, two years ago. Its 
augurs well, not only for you as dealers but for your customers 
as v/ell. By your organization you not only do yourselves a great 
deal of good, but you do fully as much good for your customers 
who act honestly with you. It will, in a measure, eliminate the 
man who will buy anything he can get on credit, with no expecta- 
tion of ever paying for the same, and while it does that it will tend 
to make it better in every way for the man who is honest and not 
only intends to pay, but actually does pay for the goods he buys. 
I know from experience, I have thousands and thousands of 
dollars worth of notes, etc., from the men who never pay, these 
include some of the leading business men of both states, men 
whom I trusted for their honesty, to my sorrow and the deplete- 
ment of my purse. 

I am indeed pleased to meet with you. I see before me men 
wilh whom I have had dealings with, which involved large sums 
of money, and I feel that I can say without fear of contradiction, 
that they are mv triends to-day the same as the day we first met. 

176 J. A. JOHNSON 

The "old timers" will bear me out, when I say that to-day the 
implement trade is on a much better basis than it was when I 
first went into it in 1880. More care is taken in credits, and 
consequently fewer bad notes are made. Then everyone were 
strangers to each other, now it is different, you can ascertain who 
a man is without much difficulty, before you give him much credit. 

I noted with interest your President's suggestion, that he 
thought canvassing should be done. I presume that to do now 
is safer than it was to do so in the early '80's. I tried it some and 
got disgusted and quit. I found that the men I was unfortunate 
enough to employ did not seem to feel any interest in the business, 
all he or they seemed to want to do was to apparently make sales, 
draw his pay and at the end of the month be in your debt if he 
could possibly be so. He would go to the man, assist in making 
out a property statement, that on the face of it was good, but on 
investigation, eight out of ten, was found to be worthless. The 
result was like the President's first binder and thresher sale, 
on the face of it, it looked as though you would not know how to 
spend your wealth, but in the end you found it had gone where 
the "woodbine twineth" and you not only lost the profit, but 
the expense you had incurred in getting the order, with that you 
had made an enemy for life of the man you refused to sell to 
after your own man had assured him that he would get the goods. 

Canvassing in the fall of 1880 reminds me of an incident that 
took place in Fargo. A strong Wisconsin firm concluded to open 
a branch house there and as was and is yet usual, hired a manager 
there. The manager conceived the idea of giving away a solid 
gold-hunting case watch to the man who would bring in the 
largest number of binder orders, and binders at that time sold at 
about $325.00 cash, each. One enterprising German canvasser 
started southwest. It was at the time the Fargo-Southwestern 
road was being constructed. He was gone for a few days and 
brought in orders enough to swamp the factory. They were all 
made out in the proper form, with property statements, showing 


the prospective purchaser to own free of all incumbrances, from 
160 to 320 acres of land, with sufficient personal property in the 
way of horses and implements, enough to work the amount of 
land supposed to be under cultivation. When he made his re- 
port all the other canvassers "took a back seat," and the German 
"took the cake" as well as the watch, and left for new fields for a 
time. WTien the orders came to be investigated, it was found 
that more than go per cent were taken from men who worked on 
the grade, and did not own a dollar in the world, and neither 
o\\'ned or expected to own any land. Later the German came 
back, and I was foolish enough to hire him. I had gone into the 
wholesale business, on a small scale, and knew the man to be a 
first class salesman if you kept track of him. I sent him out, he 
was gone about two weeks, and sent in orders daily for about a 
carload of goods, each day he was gone, with an elaborate opinion 
of the financial standing of the customer. I regret to say that I 
did not find a single order that I felt it was safe to fill. 

You who were here in the early '8o's will recall some queer 
experiences you then had, and it is safe to say that your successors 
will never have to face such conditions, no matter where they may 
go, and they are to be congratulated in escaping them. 

I trust that you will pardon me for taking up so much of your 
time about "old times" I will only recall one more thing and 
then quit. Some seven or eight years ago, some of the dealers 
conceived the idea of organizing just such a one as you have. I 
can see before me some of the men who took part in that just as 
they are now taking part in this, they were then as they are now, 
enterprising men, and are entitled to credit for what they then 
did, they were the pioneers of the great work you now have com- 
pleted. We met in Fargo and organized with a full set of officers. 
I recall some of the officers, Mr. Allen of Jamestown, vice-presi- 
dent; Mr. Tweto of Abercrombie, one of the executive com- 
mittee and I believe I was one of the honored officers. We had a 
most interesting meeting, had a banquet at the Metropole, which 

178 J. A. JOHNSON 

was paid for by the Fargo jobbers. The association started 
off with flying colors, but, it was the first and last meeting we ever 
had. It was too early for a real live association, but as stated it 
was the forerunner of one. You took up the work where we left 
off and are certainly entitled to a great deal of credit. 

With your permission I will now come to what I came to 
Crookston for. It was to invite you to hold your next meeting in 
Fargo. You know that Fargo ranks second in the world as a 
distributing point for farm implements, and if you will honor us 
with your presence there next year we will show such improve- 
ments over what it is to-day, that you will not know the city. I 
will not attempt to tell you what Fargo is as a convention city. 
I don't suppose there is a man present who has not attended one 
or more conventions in Fargo. We have the hotel facilities to 
take care of you, we are centrally located, more dealers can come 
to Fargo at less expense and inconvenience than to any other 
place in the Northwest, not excepting the Twin Cities. 

If you will come we will give you the best we have, and if I 
should still be mayor when you come, I will go a little farther than 
my friend, Mayor Campbell, who sent his chief of police out of 
of town, I will not only do that but will blindfold the police who 
remain in the city. 


October 12, 1902. 

Much has been said and written about the celebrated Gothen- 
burg system of regulating the saloon or liquor traffic. Some of 
it no doubt is true but much of it, especially by those who favor an 
unrestricted sale of liquors is very much to the reverse of what the 
facts actually are. 

Some of the greatest minds, of both men and women, have 
given much time and thought, trying to solve the best method for 
abolishing or curtailing the consumption of alcoholic drinks. If 


liquors must be sold it cannot be denied that the sale should be 
under absolute control, either of the municipality, or as in case of 
the system I am about to discuss ; in the hands of some responsible 
parties, who were not handling, with a view to increasing but de- 
creasing its consumption, and after receiving a certain rate of 
interest or dividend on the money actually invested, turn the 
large profit derived from the sale of strong drinks over to the 
public from whom it has been derived and to whom it belongs. 

While visiting Sweden last year I had the good fortune to se- 
cure some official information, giving the results of the above 
named system after twenty-five years' experience. 

The Gothenburg System. 

On March 31, 1865, Mr. S. A. Hedlund, the editor of the 
Gothenburg Commercial Gazette — called in Swedish, Handel- 
stidning — offered at the meetings of the municipal council, a 
resolution providing for the appointment of a committee whose 
duties it should be to prepare a new system for the regulation of 
the liquor traffic in Gothenburg. That committee made its re- 
port the following month. Among other recommendations made 
by the committee were the following : 

To prohibit the sale of intoxicants on credit. 

To prohibit the sale of intoxicants to persons of tender years 
and inebriates. 

To provide decent, well lighted and well ventilated premises 
for the sale of intoxicants, proportionate to the traffic. 

To provide cooked food at moderate prices at public houses. 

To make drink dearer and harder to obtain. 

To lower the percentage of alcohol. 

To limit the quantity of spirits procurable by any one person 
at any one time. 

To raise the limit of age for young persons to whom spirits 
may be sold. ' 

To shorten the time for keeping open where spirits may be 
sold for consumption. 

i8o J. A. JOHNSON 

To restrict the public house traffic and to turn the same into 
eating houses. 

To carry those recommendations into effect, it was proposed 
that the authorities transfer the pubUc house licenses to a com- 
pany, who, not for any individual profit, but in the interest of 
the working classes, would undertake the business, from which 
neither they nor the persons engaged as managers might derive 
any profit ; by this means it was hoped that the desired results 
would be obtained. 

On a petition, signed by some of the leading men of Gothen- 
burg, the municipal council granted the petition for a charter to 
be known as "The Gothenburg Public House Licensing Com- 
pany," and on August 22, 1865, the same was approved by Charles 
XV, king of Sweden. 

Paragraph IH of the charter provided that the capital stock 
shall not exceed 200,000 kroners ($65,000). 

Paragraph XV reads as follows : 

As the object of the company is to promote the general welfare, 
it follows that the members thereof can lay no claim to its profit, 
which when expense and management together be within 6 per 
cent. Annual interest on the capital invested by the stockholders, 
have been paid, shall annually be made over to the treasurer of 
the city of Gothenburg. 

Paragraph XVI of the charter reads as follows : 

That the directors are authorized to appoint managers for the 
companies public house traffic, as well as agents for the retail 
traffic, such persons to possess the requisite qualifications. The 
managers so appointed are personally responsible for the strict 
observance of all the rules and regulations made for the govern- 
ment of the public house and retail traffic in liquors, wines, etc. 
They must obey such instructions as the directors may from time 
to time issue, which rules and regulations will also be binding on 
all the officials or agents whom the company may engage in their 


The contract between the company and its managers, among 
other things provides as follows: 

The managers are bound to supply the public with well 
cooked food, either warm or cold, as may be demanded, as well 
as cofifee, tea, cocoa, small beer, aerated waters and cigars, all 
on his own account. He binds himself to sell liquors, wines, 
beer and stout for cash only, to be paid at the time of sale; to 
keep polite and attentive servants; to keep the premises clean, 
airy, well lighted and well heated, according to the season. 

The manager is expressly forbidden to sell intoxicating drinks 
to persons who show the effects of drinking or to persons who are 
under age or to persons who pay renewed visits within short 
intervals, for the purpose of obtaining drinks. 

The manager is absolutely bound to sell the companies liquor 
at a price fixed by the company, of which a schedule is posted up 
in public places and is bound to sell the same as received from 
the company, and is prohibited from adding any ingredients or 
to otherwise alter the quality. 

Once every three months the directors meet and fix the ex- 
penses of each of the managers, taking into consideration the 
number of servants employed, their food, maintenance and 
wages, and such expenses as heat, light janitor work, damage to 
furniture, and finally, to fix such remuneration as the directors 
may deem, just for the personal services of the manager. 

The last clause provides that either party may cancel the 
contract by giving notice of their intentions so to do. It also 
provides that the company can dismiss the manager without notice 
or compensation if any of the rules and regulations of the com- 
pany have been violated. 

All wines and liquors are furnished by the company and they 
are of the purest quality that can be obtained; all are inspected 
by inspectors appointed by the city authorities and the goods 
must be sold from the original packages. 

While the company was organized in 1865, it was not until 

i82 J. A. JOHNSON 

ten years later that it came into possession of all the places 
where wines and liquors are sold. Between 1875 and 1900, the 
consumption of intoxicating drinks in Gothenburg had decreased 
more than fifty per cent. 

From the year 1875 to 1898, inclusive, the profits from the 
sale of wine and liquors, turned by the company to the city of 
Gothenburg, amounted to 16,282,360 kroners, or 14,558,958.80. 
It may be of interest here to note that in 1868 before the company 
had full control of the liquor traffic, there was one public house 
for each 2,293 inhabitants while in 1899, there was one public 
house for each 8,158 inhabitants. 

In 1875, when the company came into full control, there was 
one place where strong drinks could be obtained for each 8,569 
inhabitants, while in 1899, there was one place where strong 
drinks could be obtained for each 17,481 inhabitants. 

I quote the following as to the times that wine and liquors 
can be sold; viz, the existing laws enact that retaihng shall take 
place on week days from 8 a. m. until 7 p. m., and the public 
house traffic shall not begin earlier on week days than 9 A. M., 
and shall generally cease at 10 p. m. ; that no spirits shall be sold 
on Sundays or holidays except to persons taking their meals at 
the public house. 

Meals shall cease at the company's public houses for workmen 
on week days from October to March, at 6 p. m., and from April 
to September at 7 p. m. 

The Company has provided seven large reading rooms in 
different parts of the city that are free to the public where all the 
periodicals and magazines of the day, not Swedish alone but 
from other lands, can be read, these reading rooms have hundreds 
of thousands of visitors annually. 

The revenue derived from the liquor traffic is devoted princi- 
pally to beautifying the parks and public places, public hospitals, 
public baths and otherwise for the benefit of the public least able 
to procure the same. 


From the idea of Edward Hedlund, as given to the public, 
it has spread to nearly ever)^ city and village in not only Sweden 
and Norway, where it has been legally established, but even to 
the Russian possessions of Finland. 

The Gothenburg system has the highest indorsement from 
the Governors from nearly all the provinces of Sweden. I will 
take the liberty of quoting from the governor of the province of 
Kroneberg, a province of which I have some recollections as a 
child and where I saw the difference in Februarj', 1901. He says : 
"There can be no doubt that the transfer of the liquor business 
to a company of Vexio has had good results in furthering the 
cause of morality and order." In place of the former close and 
filthy slums, where every kind of iniquity prevailed, where fights 
and other acts of violence were the order of the day; the com- 
pany has provided air)', roomy premises where order and cleanli- 
ness are found to prevail under ordinar}' circumstances. The 
strict regulations by which the manager is bound, and above all, 
the excellent rules that they shall not derive the slightest profit 
from the sale of liquor, but solely from the sale of food ; thus being 
free from self-interested motives for encouraging the consumption 
of spirits has shown very beneficial results so that the police are 
very seldom required to interfere in preserving order in the public 

Tower City, June 15, 1903. 

Among the speakers was Ex-Mayor J. A. Johnson, orator of 
the day, among other things he said: 

It is not only right and proper that those who have made 
North Dakota blossom like that of the rose should meet and 
exchange experiences, renew old friendships and make new ones. 
By so doing it will keep up interest and perpetuate the work so 
well done by you who have changed this from the hunting ground 

i84 J. A. JOHNSON 

of the savage Indian to the happy homes of the white man, who 
will transmit it to his children and to his children's children. 

On occasions like the present, it is, Ft)elieve, something like 
an experience, or revival Methodist camp-meeting. That being 
the case with your permission, I will go over very briefly and try 
to tell you what I have seen accomplished since I first came north- 
west. It will be forty-nine years next October since I first saw 
the majestic Mississippi. At that time the locomotive whistle 
had never been heard on its banks. The only connection the 
settlers had with the outside world was by steamer while the river 
was suitable for navigation, and by stages for about 400 miles to 
the nearest railroad point in vnnter. 

Everything we had to wear came from the East, and everything 
we had to eat, except what the woods and streams gave us, came 
from the east or south. I came out from Chicago, then not half 
as large as Minneapolis is to-day, on the first regular passenger 
train which ever left for the then new Northwest. It took us 
twelve hours to get to Galena, the end of the road. That place 
has since been made famous as the home of America's greatest 
soldier. General Grant. It took us five days and nights to go 
by river from Galena to Stillwater, Minnesota, the last time I 
travelled between Chicago and Stillwater, it took just twelve 
hours. All must admit that the changes I have seen since I first 
came to the Northwest are greater than the changes described in 
the Arabian Knights. They are, however, only equaled by the 
great changes in other directions. Statistics are dry, but at times 
they are necessary to show facts as they exist. In 1850, Minne- 
sota which then included what is now North Dakota, had a popu- 
lation of but 6, 077. In 1900, or fifty years later, it had a popula- 
tion of 1,751,349, not including North Dakota. 

As stated at that time, there was not a mile of railroad in the 
Northwest; to-day Minnesota alone, has more than 10,000 miles 
of the finest roads in the world. Then there had not been a pound 
of flour ground in the three great states of Minnesota, North and 

They Will See a City — Mayor Dinnie Will Entertain the Rural Mayors 
To-day, and Show Them What the Word "Metropolitan" Means. 




South Dakota; to-day in the Red River valley alone, North of 
Fargo they have flouring mills that produce over 4000 barrels of 
the finest flour in the world, daily, while Minneapolis is the 
greatest flouring mill center in the world. 

Then the Indians held sway, I have seen an Indian war dance 
on Third street in St. Paul, and that it was a genuine one, was 
e\ddenced by the scalps they had with them. 

The product of what is now North Dakota, consisted in furs 
and pelts, and was taken to market in Red River carts. I pre- 
sume you all know what a Red River cart is, so will not attempt 
to describe it. I have seen them by hundreds on St. Anthony 
Hill in St. Paul. With them came the Indian with his pony, 
his squaw and her papoose, as well as the half-breeds and the 
white man. It was an interesting sight even then, and one that 
once seen can never be forgotten. 

I know that there are those here who have seen all I have 
and more, so will not take any more time on this subject. 

We are interested more in our new home than in our former 
ones. That being the case, I will give you a few facts which I 
trust will be of interest to those who may not be familiar with 

The first that the government mentions what is now North 
Dabota, in its census, was in 1870. We then had 2,405, ift 1880 we 
had 36,909, in 1890, we had 182,719, in 1900 we had 319,040, 
to-day we have over 400,000; between 1890 and 1900 we gained 
136,311, while our sister state of South Dakota only gained 72,747. 
In other words, we gained nearly twice as much in population as 
South Dakota did in the same time. 

When I first saw the Northwest, no one supposed that it would 
ever become the great grain and stock coimtry it has, and it is 
only in its infancy. To show what you and those who have come 
to North Dakota have done, I will quote from the latest report I 
have seen; viz., 1901. In that year we raised 45,858,945 bushels 
of wheat, 12,382,353 bushels of flax, 20,758,762 bushels of oats. 

i86 J. A. JOHNSON 

6,161,832 bushels of barley, 221,361 bushels of rye and 1,286,560 of 
corn, making a grand total of 87,167,813 bushels of grain and corn. 
North Dakota has not only become one of the leading grain 
states, but it grows nearly two thirds of the entire flax crop of 
the United States. There are few, if any, in this state who have 
dared to predict twenty years ago that we ever receive a prize for 
raising corn. However, at the Pan-American Exposition, two 
years ago, North Dakota received five gold, nine silver, and eleven 
bronze medals in addition to about one hundred honorable men- 
tions at the same exposition. That is something that every North 
Dakotan may well be proud of. Our grains and our beeves com- 
mand a premium over all others in the markets of the world. 
What North Dakota will produce when cultivated to its fullest ex- 
tent and in a proper manner, would stagger anyone to even predict. 

According to the assessors we had in 1901. In that year we raised horses 

and mules valued at $9,181,427. 00 

463,751 cattle valued at $6,287,885.00 

380,495 sheep valued at $ 766,495 . 00 

122,885 hogs valued at $ 27^,51 1 .00 

Making a total valuation of $116,511,308.00 

It is well-known and an admitted fact, that not one half of the 

stock on the range is assessed, and that also that what stock is 

assessed does not exceed one third its value ; that being the case 

we find that we had stock in 1901 to the value of over $60,000,000. 

In i8or we sold live stock to the value of $5,306,167. 00 

Dairy products, poultry and eggs to the value of $2,500,000. 00 

Wool to the value of $3,000,000.00 

The approximate value of the stock, grain, dairy, poultry and 
eggs for 1 90 1, would be as follows: 

Stock $ 2,500,000. 00 

Poultry and eggs and dairy products $ 5,306,167.00 

Wool $ 3,000,000. 00 

Wheat $31,000,000.00 

Flax $15,250,000.00 

Oats $ 5,189,680.00 

Barley $ 2,156,641 .00 

Rye $ 77,476.00 

Corn $ 750,000 . 00 

Potatoes, over 20,000,000 bushels $ 4,005,186.00 

Total $69,235,150.00 


This takes no account of hay, garden truck or anything else 
sold from the land. By adding what has been omitted, it will 
exceed $75,000,000. 

This is simply marvelous and we must stop to think how 
marvelous it is. Just think of a country that the Sioux Indian 
owned thirty years ago to-day, that has in a single year pro- 
duced from its soil products to the amount of $75,000,000 or 
more; that has live stock worth more than $60,000,000 and has 
property of all kinds subject to assessments of the value of over 
$500,000,000; that spent last year, over $2,500,000 and has school 
lands alone worth over $50,000,000. That has nearly 8,000,000 
acres of land under cultivation with 38,063 farms, 6,150 ranches, 
20,150 combined farms and ranches, 804 post offices and 247 
newspapers the liveliest in the world. All this has been accom- 
plished by you and your associates, in the unprecedented time 
of thirty years, in fact, in but little more than twenty years. 
WTiere can you point to anything that approaches the development 
of North Dakota? I venture to say that nothing like has ever 
taken place in so short a time before in the history of man. 

In addition to our fertile soil and invigorating climate, we are 
doubly blessed in having 31,000 square miles of land underlaid 
with good lignite coal. That will be a great source of wealth in 
the future and insure cheap fuel for all time to come. 

While I am on the subject of North Dakota, and I could talk 
all day about our state, but I would tire you, I' wish to call your 
attention to a report on what is now North Dakota, on file in the 
war department at Washington. General Hazen, at that time 
chief of the weather department of the war department, was sent 
west to ascertain and make report of the then existing conditions 
and future prospects. In the report on what is now North 
Dakota, he said it was an alkali desert unfit for the habitation of 
man, scarcely fit for the wild buffalo or still wilder Indian. Yet 
the fact remains, that North Dakota with less than one sixteenth 
of its area under cultivation in wheat, has produced more than 

i88 J. A. JOHNSON 

twelve per cent of the entire wheat crop of the United States. 
With proper cultivation, it is capable of producing more wheat 
in a single year than has ever been produced in any one year in 
the history of the United States. 

Four years ago at Syracuse, N. Y., in a paper before the League 
of American Municipalities, I stated that North Dakota the year 
before had produced from its soil more than $300 for every man, 
woman and child in the state, and was ready to prove it. A 
short time after, I made that statement, I was in one of the banks 
in Minneapolis and was taken to task by Ex-Mayor Winston of 
that city for having made such a rash statement. I demonstrated 
to him and his associates that I was right and I still stand ready 
to prove it. I also claim that there is not another state in the 
Union that can do it. 

We live in a state of great possibilities, much greater than 
many of us realize, we have just begun to develop our resources 
and as we go, we find more and greater avenues of development 
possible. There is room for hundreds, yes, millions, in North 
Dakota, where they can find good homes and business opportuni- 
ties and where they and their children can get away from the 
crowded East and Europe. 

The old settler of North Dakota has as I have shown, accom- 
plished much, but he has still more to do. You have but begun 
and from now on, your work will begin to give you both profit 
and pleasure. You have had many things to contend with in 
common with all pioneers, they, however have been small in 
comparison with those who have gone before you in the eastern 
states. They started out in the trackless wilderness to make 
their homes among the wild beasts and savages, while we came 
here in palace cars to a land ready for the plow, to a land that had 
been cleared of the savage Sioux by the gallant Custer and his 
troopers. The pioneer of the older states had no assurance when 
he left his loved ones, even for a short time that he would find them 
alive when he returned. It was too often the case that he found 


his house burned, wife and children killed and scalped or taken 
off to be tortured or to a worse fate. 

It is only those who have lived among the Indians, as some of 
you have done, that can realize what that means. I have no 
doubt there are some who went through the Indian Massacre in 
Minnesota in 1862-1863, the mere thought of which will make 
the blood run cold in your veins. I have seen Indians from 
Alaska on the North to the Orinoco in the South. I have fought 
by their side as well as against them. The first time I was under 
fire was a fight with the Creek Indians in Oklahoma, the next 
time I was under fire at Pea Ridge, Arkansas, I was brigaded 
with some Indian cavalry. I cannot say that in any place or in 
any country have I seen very much to admire in them. 

In conclusion, I thank you for your invitation to participate 
with you, and for the patience with which you have listened to me. 

Note : At this meeting Air. Johnson was unanimously elected 
a member of this association. 

Abercrombie, June 17, 1903. 

It would require a Webster, a Clay or a Lincoln to do justice 
to the subject assigned to me, viz., "The Ladies, Past and Pres- 
ent," and then it is doubtful if even they could do it. 

The ladies of the past, and at the present time have and con- 
trol more of the world's moral, as well as political affairs, than 
men are willing to admit, they control in a large measure the 
destinies of states and nations. It is to their good work that we 
owe our present high state of civilization; were it not for them 
this would be but a world of beasts, their influence is pure and 
elevating. While I am sorry to have to admit that that of man, 
if not the reverse comes very near being so. When as children, 
who do we go to with our troubles ? To our mothers, of course. 
Who of us ever thought of taking them to our fathers ? I will ven- 

igo J. A. JOHNSON 

ture to say not one of us did so, and as we grow older we go to 
her and make her our confidant and tell her of our aims and 
ambitions and we know that we will get her sympathy and best 
counsel, and do not fear that she will make fun of us. Later 
in life we find some good woman to whom we become attached, 
and she, like our mothers, assists us in all our laudable under- 
takings. Young men, my advice to you is, and I speak from 
experience, get some good woman to take care of you as soon 
as you can, for you are not capable of taking care of yourself, 
and when you get her, remember that you have got the best gift 
that man can have, and be sure that you make yourself worthy 
of her, for no matter how much you do for her you cannot do 
half as much as she does for you. 

There are many men within the sound of my voice that were 
it not for his faithful wife, would be to-day a homeless wanderer 
on the face of the earth. It is to her patience, fortitude and 
endurance that he is to-day well-to-do, contented and happy. 
Who is there among us that has not felt her gentle hand on our 
fevered brow when sickness has laid us low, and but for her gentle 
ministrations death would have claimed us before our allotted 
time. Who is there that cannot recall the time when we had 
strong hopes of the success of some enterprise that we were in- 
terested in and that by some act not of our own, our fond hopes 
were dashed to the ground, have not been consoled by our wives 
and had the cloud that seemed to envelope us, for the time being, 
cleared away. It is to just such women as I have described 
that we, as a nation, are indebted to for being what we are to-day, 
and the same may be said of every civilized nation on the face of 
the globe, and as we grow older we will still receive more of her 
good work, and the world will be getting better all the time, 
and we must give the woman credit for the most of it. 

While I told the young men to get some good woman to take 
care of him, I wish to say to the young woman to be careful and 
see that the man she marries is healthy, honest, sober and kind. 


If he is known to abuse his mother, sister or even his dumb animals, 
or drinks and carouses, don't marry him any quicker than you 
would a leper. If I was a woman I would marry a leper in 
preference to such a man as I have described. Remember that 
if you marry such a man and he comes home drunk and abuses 
you and your children, you have only yourself to blame, and it 
will only be a question of time when it will be either the divorce 
court or an early grave; and your children, if you have any, 
will either be deprived of their mother's care or be scattered 
where you may not have any control over them. I know of such 
cases, not only in this, but in other states, as well. In conclu- 
sion, I thank you for the invitation to be present with you on 
this auspicious occasion and for the patience with which you have 
listened to me. 


Fargo, October 19, 1903. 

I was very much pleased at receiving your invitation to be 
your guest again. I have been that so often, and you have heard 
me speak so many times, that I will not take up very much of 
your time. If I had the eloquence, and was such a word painter 
as my friends who have preceded me, I would not hesitate in tak- 
ing up time, but after listening to their Honors — Mayor Sweet 
and Mayor Nye — anything that I may say will not sound very 
well. This morning Messrs. Bassett and Hagen requested me 
to say something about the Volunteer Firemen. If any subject 
could loosen any man's tongue that should do it. I regard the 
volunteer fireman as one of the noblest of men. It requires more 
courage to fight a fire that it does to go into a battle. In the 
case of fires there is nothing to cheer you on ; in battle it is just 
the reverse. There you have your comrades who touch elbows 
with you and with the enemy in front of you, and the cheers of 
your comrades all around you — you forget yourself for the time 

192 J. A. JOHNSON 

being. I speak from experience in both cases. When a young 
man I was a fireman; I have also been a soldier and have felt 
the shock of cavalry meeting cavalry — and cavalry charging 
batteries of artillery. I have also gone into burning buildings 
as a fireman, and let me tell you of the two I will take the cavalry 
charge in mine. The volunteer fireman — and in fact all fire- 
men — are called upon at all hours of the night and day, and in 
all kinds of weather. You risk life and limb — as well as health 
— for the protection of the property of your neighbors ; if you 
succeed in saving it you may get thanks — if you don't, through 
no fault of your own, you are as liable to get curses as thanks. 
That, I think, you will admit had been your experience as well 
at it has of all firemen who have done their duty. I well remem- 
ber the time that your company, as well as the other fire com- 
panies in Fargo, were organized. You have been a credit to the 
city — as well as to yourselves — from that day to this, and the 
citizens of Fargo so recognize you. 

I understand from the public press, containing the proceed- 
ings of the City Council, that it contemplates the creation of a 
paid fire department. As to whether the time has come for that 
the mayor and council must be judges of. Personally, I don't 
think it has, and if I was mayor would not approve of it. I 
would, however, favor some changes in the present arrangement, 
so as to make what I believe would be as efficient as a paid de- 
partment for some time so come; and would, at the same time, 
be less expense to the taxpayers. But, whatever the mayor and 
council may deem best for the city I know that you will yield 
obedience to the same. Should no change be made I know you 
will give the city the same loyal service in the future that you 
have in the past — and in so doing you will do all it is possible 
for men to do. Should the mayor and council deem it best to 
create a paid department at the present time, I would advise 
you not to give up your organization, but to keep it up as a social 
one. The time is coming, in the not distant future, when it 


will be a badge of honor to have been a volunteer fireman in 

This is the first time I have met you all at once this year, 
and before I sit dowTi I ^;^'ish to thank each and every one of you 
for that magnificent group of photographs of the members of this 
company that you sent me, so handsomely mounted in ebony, 
last Christmas. You may rest assured that the gift was appre- 
ciated and will be kept by me as long as I live — and many will 
be the times I will look in the faces so well portrayed — of my 
smiling "fire laddie" friends. That group — with those I have 
received of the other companies — will be given to my children 
at my death. They vsdll cherish them — not only for my sake, 
but for yours as well. 


February, 1905. 

To the Northwestern Farmer and North Dakotan: Com- 
plying with your request to give youi readers a short sketch of 
the Tri-State Grain and Stock Growers' Association, will at- 
tempt to do so in the shortest possible way. 

The origin of it is due to Hon. Budd Reeve of Buxton, N. D. 
In the first part of March, 1899, Mr. Reeve came to me and wanted 
to know whether I would help in getting the first meeting up. 
After canvassing the situation over I told him I would be glad 
to do so and the result was we had a rousing meeting. We had 
many noted speakers present, the most prominent was Mr. James 
J. Hill, of the Great Northern Railway. We had a good repre- 
sentation of farmers and stockmen from North and South 
Dakota, Minnesota, and Manitoba. About the only subject dis- 
cussed at the first meeting, was grain, and the eradication of 
noxious weeds. In Januar\', 1900, we held the second meeting, 
with a much larger attendance than we had at the first one. At 
the second meeting, in addition to grain raising, stock was also 

194 J. A. JOHNSON 

quite fully discussed. Mr. Hill also favored us with an excel- 
lent address at this meeting. In 1901 no meeting was held, for 
what reason I do not know, as I was in Europe. 

In 1902 we had our third meeting. At this meeting among 
the speakers, in addition to Mr. Hill, was Prof. Carlton, Cereal- 
ist of the Department of Agriculture. It was at this meeting, 
and owing to the presence of Prof. Carlton, that macaroni wheat 
became so well known. Prof. Carlton had just returned from 
Russia, where he had been investigating macaroni wheat with a 
view of adopting it to the western part of the United States. 

In 1903, 1904 and 1905 we have had meetings each year, 
and each year the attendance and interest have increased, and 
increased very materially, indeed. Out of the various meetings 
— all held in Fargo — there has grown a number of valuable 
associations, such as the stock breeders, and macaroni raisers, 
the horticulturists, the butter makers and several others. At 
each of the last three meetings we have had specialists from the 
Department of Agriculture in attendance, not as spectators, 
but men who were specialists in their line and who gave those 
fortunate enough to hear them, the benefit of their special 

All the meetings of the association have been of incalculable 
value to the Northwest, is evidenced by the fact, that the hun- 
dreds of men have left their homes, paid their expenses to attend 
each and every meeting that has been held. That could not have 
been, had they not been benefited sufficiently to pay them for 
the time, trouble and expense they were to. 

The last meeting, January i7-2oth, this year, the program 
was divided up so as to give separate days to grain, stock, hor- 
ticulture and dairying, thus giving each of the great agricul- 
tural industries of the Northwest an opportunity to become 
familiar with what was doing in that which they were most 
interested. ' 

Another feature that the last meeting took up was the con- 


sideration of pending legislation, both state and national. Reso- 
lutions were passed expressing the views of the members in 
attendance on pending bills, and certified copies of same were 
ordered sent to our members of Congress and Senate, as well as 
to the legislature, which has been done. Those that were sent 
to Washington have already been presented both to the House 
and the Senate as well as to Secretary Shaw, as per advice 
receiv^ed from both members of the House and Senate. 

Those that were sent to Bismarck were read in the two 
Houses there and referred to committees. What good they will 
do the future alone can tell. If they do no other good, they will 
at least give our law makers to understand where the leading 
agriculturists and stockmen stand on legislation affecting their 
interests. I, this morning, received from Senator Nelson of 
Minnesota, a copy of Secretary Shaw's opinion on the so-called 
"draw back scheme," which is nothing more or less than per- 
mitting Canadian wheat into the United States free of duty, in 
competition with the wheat raised by the American farmer. 
This, I think, is the first time the farmer has ever had anything 
that he had to sell protected by a tariff in his favor, and that 
has been by legerdemain taken from him, at the behest of the 
millionaire millers. 

One of the things that has contributed very much has been 
the liberality of the railroads. Each year they have given a rate 
of one fare for the round trip in Minnesota west of the Twin 
Cities, and in North and South Dakota. In addition to giving 
such a low rate they have contributed iij many other ways to 
make the meetings the success they have been. 

That the association has been of benefit to the members 
goes without saying, and the work that has but just begun in that 
direction. Each meeting in the future will develop new ideas, 
as well as new subjects to be discussed. Many men have told 
me that what they have learned at these meetings could not be 
computed in money. They raise more grain, as well as better 

196 J. A. JOHNSON 

grain ; they understand better the care of stock and how to feed 
them to the best advantage; the butter makers have learned 
from the experience each has given, the best methods of making 
the very best butter that can be produced; the horticulturists 
have learned what fruits can be raised here at a profit, so take it 
all in all, every interest pertaining to farming and all its branches 
have been benefited by the exchange of ideas and experience. 



Our mutual friend President Baker has asked me to bid you 
welcome to Fargo. It is needless for me to tell you that it affords 
me great pleasure to do so. I am often called upon to greet 
visitors who honor us with their presence, in nearly every instance 
I have been called upon, the people that I have met were strangers, 
or nearly so. With you it is different : in meeting you I am called 
upon to welcome men and women who were here in many cases 
long before there was a Fargo. 

In fact, I see faces before me that had come to make the Red 
River Valley their home before either the name or location of 
Fargo had even been thought of. When I came here in 1879 — 
and I will confine myself to Fargo and Moorhead — I met among 
others, Hon. S. G. Comstock, P. H. Lamb, John Erickson, Dr. 
Wilson, Col. Sharpe and others in Moorhead; Hon. S. G. Roberts, 
Major Edwards, John E. Haggart, E. B. Eddy, Jacob Lowell, 
N. K. Hubbard, Sam Matthews, Geo. E. Nichols, James Holes, 
Geo. I. Foster, G. J. Keeney, H. F. Miller, J. B. Chapin, Jas. S. 
Campbell and others in Fargo. Some of the men who I have 
named were called "old timers" 27 years ago. Many of the men 
we met then have moved away, others have passed to "the great 
majority"; they did their work well. It is not my purpose to 
eulogize the dead — their work that they accomplished before they 
were called upon to cease from their labors speaks for itself. I 


cannot refrain, however, from reminding you of E. B. Eddy, John 
E. Haggart, J. B. Chapin, Jacob Lowell, Sr., and Col. Crockett 
and many others who I will not take up your time to name. 

It would be difficult indeed, to find a more enterprising lot of 
men and women than those who came to the Red River Valley as 
pioneers; you were brave and generous to a fault. I will cite a 
few instances that will bear out my statement. The population of 
Fargo and Moorhead combined when I first saw them did not 
exceed 3,000 though much more was claimed. It was much 
easier to raise a given amount of money, no matter what the object 
was, than it would be to raise an equal amount to-day. That 
was demonstrated in the erection of foundries, paper mills, electric 
light plants, street cars and many other enterprises that took 
thousands and thousands of dollars and nearly every dollar lost — 
and not a complaint heard on account of the loss of so much money. 

If you try the same thing to-day, you would not get a dollar 
with all our wealth where you got five dollars in our poverty. But 
it was that spirit that built up the Northwest and your influence is 
still building it up. Had you stopped and looked at a nickel till 
it looked like a dollar and then put it back in your pocket, do you 
think you would have been able to meet in a town like Fargo, and 
in a $100,000 building erected and used exclusively for Masonry ? 
Not a bit of it. It was your indomitable will, courage and enter- 
prise, your generosity and readiness to help all who came that has 
accomplished more in 25 years than it took some of the Eastern 
and Southern states to do in generations. 

I don't know what the population of the Red River Counties 
was in Minnesota in 1880, nor what it is to-day. But the territory 
that now comprises North Dakota had less than 37,000 in 1880, 
and has over 400,000 to-day — and will have over 600,000 in 1910. 
You have laid the foundation that future generations will bless 
you for as we bless the forefathers of the republic. You may not 
live long enough to receive your just reward, but those who you 
leave behind will get it. 

198 J. A. JOHNSON 

Meetings like this should be held at least once each year; 
while personally I would like to see them held in Fargo every year, 
I do not believe it good policy to hold them two successive years 
in any town. Each one of us should make ourselves a committee 
of one to see that every man and woman who is entitled to become 
a member join the Association. Each one of us — in addition 
to seeing our friends join the Association — should furnish the 
general secretary with certain information that he may ask con- 
cerning you. This is important and the information that you 
will furnish will be needed when the time comes to write up the 
history of the Red River Valley. It cannot be properly written up 
unless the information the secretary wants is furnished while you 
live. I thank you for the privilege accorded me in meeting you, 
and as Mayor of, and in behalf of, the citizens of Fargo, I bid you 


At Fargo, August 16, 1906. 

• It affords me great pleasure to welcome you, as Mayor, in 
behalf of our citizens, to Fargo. I trust that your meeting here 
will be profitable, not only to your organization, but to its indi- 
vidual members. And that we may have not only the pleasure, 
but the honor of entertaining you again in the near future. 

The banking business, like everything else in North Dakota, 
has advanced wonderfully in the last few years and much of that 
advancement is due to you gentlemen and your absent associates. 
The general public does not realize the benefits you are, have been, 
and will be in the development of our state. We have just begun 
to realize what a wonderful state we live in and its possibilities. 
While the past has been bright, the future will be still brighter if 
we but do our duty and take advantage of what nature has done 
for us. Many of you, like myself, are pioneers of North Dakota. 
We can hardly realize that in population we have grown from less 


than 37,000 in 1880 to over 400,000 in 1906. By the time for 1910 
is taken we will have 600,000 people here ; had we been told that 
25 years ago there is not a man within sound of my voice who 
would have believed it. 

I am especially glad to welcome you to Fargo. Here you will 
find the banking business has kept pace with other lines. You 
will find here the largest bank in the state and a combined banking 
capital and surplus for the banks of the city of $487,000; with 
deposits July first of $2,897,401.38. If you will examine the 
Fargo Clearing House transactions for 1905 you will find they 
amounted to over $32,750,000 — larger than any city east of the 
Mississippi of three times our population — and larger than some 
eastern and southern cities of 100,000 population. You will also 
note that a very important transaction has taken place in the 
banks of Fargo since you met last year — in the consolidation of 
the Red River Valley having been merged into the First National 
Bank. That makes the First National Bank of Fargo the largest 
capitalized bank between the Twin Cities and Helena, Mont. — 
and between Sioux City on the south to Manitoba on the north. 

I understand that the same process of consolidation is taking 
place in various sections of the state. This is not only important 
but is in the interest of the stock holder as well as the depositor. 
It saves money in the way of administration, makes the banks 
stronger and they will be able to give better accommodation to their 
customers, as well as permitting a lower rate of interest — so that 
not only the stock holder is benefited but the general public as well. 

In addition to the banks of Fargo, we have other important 
fiduciary institutions in Fargo: The Northwestern Savings and 
Loan Association has assets to the value of over $700,000. It has 
deposits on savings account to the amount of $230,000. 

The Northern Trust Co. has a capital and surplus of $126,000 
and a deposit account of $275,000. In 1905 this well managed 
concern loaned out over $400,000. Thus it will be seen that the 
aggregate capital invested in Fargo banks, on deposit in their 

200 J. A. JOHNSON 

vaults, invested in assets in the Sa\nngs and Loan Association and 
the money deposited with capital and surplus of the N. W. Trust 
Co. amounts to the magnificent sum total of $4,715,401.38. 
Where in any part of the United States in an agricultural com- 
munity will you find anything that will equal this ? 

If you will but take the time to look over our city you will see 
mammoth warehouses filled %A'ith all kinds of farm machinery. 
Fargo is the second city of importance in the United States, if not 
in the world, for the distribution of farm implements. Nearly 
ever)' important manufacturer in the countr}' is represented here 
and the list is being constantly augmented. More threshing, 
harvesting and haying machinery is handled in and through the 
Fargo houses than in any other one place in the world. You will 
also find other lines of wholesalers with large stocks suitable to 
the needs of their various customers. You will find large stocks 
of groceries, hardware, drugs, fruits, saddler}' and harness; the 
latter two items are not only sold at wholesale through Fargo but 
we have two large factories here that employ a large force of men. 
We have many other lines that I wUl not take up your time to 
mention. You have met the Fargo commercial traveler in your 
towns and know that they represent ever}- legitimate line that is 
adapted to the need of the people of the northwest. 

While you are here I trust that you will inspect our water- 
works — our fire department — our parks — the Masonic Tem- 
ple, the finest building west of the AUeghanies used exclusively 
for Masonry, the Elks' Club Room, and last, but not least, don't 
fail to inspect our street car system. We are proud of Fargo but we 
are especially proud of our water-works, parks, our fire-depart- 
ment, the Masonic Temple, our street-car service, schools, 
churches and our homes. If you will indicate when you can go 
to either or all the places named, it will afford me pleasure to 
accompany you. 

I can also recommend that you visit the Agricultural College. 
Pres. Worst and his assistants will show you what North Dakota 


soil can produce when handled properly. You -^ill also see one 
of the finest Government Experiment Stations in the United States. 
I will not take up any more of your time but thank you for 
ha\-ing inWted me to meet you, and giving me an opportimity of 
bidding you welcome to Fargo. 


Fargo Fonun, March, 1907. 

Owing to a slight mishap which befell Mayor Johnson a few 
days ago, he was obliged to keep to his room and was not able to 
go to Milbank yesterday. He had arranged to deliver an address 
on the enforcement of prohibition in Fargo and the general work- 
ings of the law in this city. The address of the Mayor had been 
prepared vdih considerable care and contained a mass of valuable 
information, and gave comparisons as to the conditions of the city 
%\-ith and without saloons. The text of the address was sent by 
the Mayor to Milbank and was read there at an immense mass 
meeting last night. The Forum publishes the address as follows : 

You inWted me to go to Milbank and tell you what has been 
done in Fargo without the saloon, since prohibition came into 
effect. It would have afforded me much pleasure to have com- 
plied %Aith your request, but an accident has befallen me that will 
confine me to my home for several days. My attending physician 
absolutely forbade me leaving the house. I was told that you did 
not e.xpect or want a speech, but what you did want are facts. 
The facts that I will send you can be relied upon as they have been 
obtained from the parties who are referred to. In each case I 
have obtained them from the proper authorities. In 1890 after 
North Dakota had been admitted into the Union, Fargo had a 
population of 5,664. The latest authority we now have is Petti- 
bone's directory for 1906 just published; which gives us a popu- 
lation of 13,410. 

Our school enrollment for March this year is 2,309. In 1891 

202 J. A. JOHNSON 

it was 1,019. Our High School, with a four years course has 302 
students. In 1901 it had 90 students. This year we will graduate 
45, in 1891 we graduated 7. Now we haveTo teachers, in 1891 we 
had 23. How we have seven graded and one high school, in 189 1 
we had 2 graded and one high school. Our course of study and 
teachers are modern and progressive. Our high school library 
contains nearly 5,000 books, with a $2,500 physical laboratory. 
A $1,500 biological library with fine manual training equipment 
for wood joinery, turner and pattern making. In addition to 
common schools, there is located in Fargo the North Dakota 
Agricultural College and United States Experiment Station with 
872 students; the Fargo College-Congregational with 250 stu- 
dents; Sacred Heart Academy with 175 students; Lutheran 
Seminary with 53 students; two Business Colleges with 704 
students. Thus you will see that there are 2,254 students in our 
colleges and 2,309 in our public schools, making 4,563 students in 
the various educational institutions in Fargo. 

We have 21 church organizations with churches ranging in 
value from $5,000 to $100,000 ; and a Y. M. C. A. building nearly 
completed which will cost $60,000; the second largest Masonic 
Temple in the United States used exclusively for Masonry, costing 
over $100,000 and paid for. A government building costing over 
$200,000. Last year there was more than $500,000 invested in 
new buildings and this year there will be $1,000,000, provided 
that men and materials can be obtained. There is not a vacant 
residence or business place in Fargo, and I have been informed 
by reliable real estate dealers that there are more than 50 families 
waiting to have houses built so that they can come to live here. 

The city owns its water-works bought since we became a 
state. We have over $250,000 invested in the plant. The rates 
our people pay for water is only about one third the amount paid 
when the works were under private ownership, yet it is one of 
the best paying properties in the Northwest. 

We have 22 miles of paved streets — we had none in 1891; 


we will repave more than 2 miles this year; 14 miles of an up-to- 
date street-railway; 23 miles of sewer, of which more than 20 
miles has been put in since 1891; 25 miles water mains, with as 
finely equipped paid Fire Department as can be found anywhere, 
fully equipped with the latest and best fire fighting apparatus. 

Our wholesale trade consists of goods in all lines, among which 
I may mention 3 groceries, 2 harness, 2 fruit, i sash, door, blinds, 
mouldings, etc. ; 2 oil, 2 stationery, 2 hardware, i plumbers' 
supplies, 25 farm implements. We are the second place of im- 
portance in the United States, if not in the world for the distri- 
tion of farm implements. More steam threshers and self-binding 
harvesters are handled through the Fargo houses than are handled 
in any other place in the world. Our wholesale trade for 1906 
exceeded $18,000,000. 

'In manufacturing industries, Fargo excells all other places 
between the Tmn Cities and Spokane. We have, among others, 
one foundry, one bedding and mattress factory, one cornice and 
ornamental works, one corrugated steel culvert factory, one 
candy factor}', two large planing, sash, doors, blinds and other 
woodwork factories, two large harness factories, two cement 
building block factories, one large flouring mill, three machine 
and boiler shops, one tannery, and one wagon and buggy factory. 

Financially, we are the headquarters for the New North-west. 
We have the largest capitalized bank — the First National — 
between the Twin Cities on the East and Helena on the West, 
and Sioux City on the South, Winnipeg on the North. The 
capital stock of the banks in Fargo, with the surplus, is $545,000. 
There was on deposit in the banks of Fargo March ist, $3,117,- 
992.06. The Northwestern Mutual Savings and Loan Association 
had assets January last to the amount of $852,105.11. On 
January i, 1904, its assets were only $2,513.74; an increase in 
thirteen years of $849,591.11. The Northern Trust Company, 
which has only been organized about three years with a capital of 
$120.30, had assets January 26 last to the amount of $471,064.14. 

204 J. A. JOHNSON 

Thus you will see that there is on deposit and savings account in 
Fargo the immense sum of $4,410,094.31. 

The North Dakota corporations, exclusive of banks and 
foreign corporations, located and doing business in Fargo, have an 
aggregate capitalization of $6,250,000. The Fargo Post Office, 
for the year ending June 30th last, showed receipts for the sale of 
stamps, box rent, etc., to the amount of $67,615.24; Sioux Falls, 
for the same time and items, showed receipts to the amount of 
$57,111.15 ; Grand Forks for the same time and items showed to 
the amount of $41,977.24. The clerk hire cost at Fargo, $9,735; 
at Sioux Falls, $12,630.50; at Grand Forks, $7,826.67. For free 
delivery it cost in Fargo 11 per cent; in Grand Forks, 13 per cent, 
and in Sioux Falls 18 per cent. The Fargo Post Office netted the 
government for the year named $49,780.75; Sioux Falls for the 
same time, $34,237.67 ; Grand Forks for the same time, $28,744.- 
03. The Fargo clearing house transactions for 1906 amounted to 
$26,268,269.52. The Post Office, banking and clearing house 
transactions in Fargo were larger than they were in any city east 
of the Mississippi River of three times the population of Fargo. 

City Auditor N. C. Morgan informs me that the bonded and 
floating debt of Fargo, exclusive of outstanding warrants for 
special improvements, which must be paid by the property bene- 
fited, is $149,000. On March ist, 1898, it was $380,416. 

We have three great railway systems, viz. : The Northern 
Pacific, The Great Northern, and the Chicago, Milwaukee and 
St. Paul, with branches running in all directions. We have 
thirty-four passenger trains arriving and departing daily. 

We have as fine hotel accommodations as you will find in the 
Twin Cities ; the same can be said of our hospitals ; patients come 
from all parts of not only North Dakota, but from South Dakota, 
and Minnesota, to receive the excellent treatment for all diseases 
that the human body is heir to. 

The city of Fargo is very orderly. During my incumbency as 
Mayor between April 1896, and April, 1902, there was only one 


felony committed within the corporate limits of Fargo. Since I 
assumed the duties of Mayor last April, there has been but one 
felony committed, the records we have every reason to be proud of. 
There is not a place in Fargo where any intoxicating liquor can be 
purchased, except on the prescription of a regular physician. This 
condition reflects no special credit, either on the Mayor or the 
police department. It would be impossible to do what we have 
done if the people were not back of us. 

You will notice that so far, I have not gone beyond 1891, except 
in population, so that what progress we have made since then has 
been since the saloon left Fargo. You must also remember that 
on June 7, 1893, the entire business portion of Fargo was burned, 
entailing a loss of over $3,000,000. What we have done has been 
done vnthout any license from the saloons. I am firmly of the 
opinion that if the proposition was submitted to the people of 
Fargo to allow saloons to come in, the votes in favor of the saloon 
would hardly be worth counting. 

In conclusion, I wish to say that I was Mayor of Fargo in 
1885-6, when we had about 40 saloons. We then had a popula- 
tion of about 4,500 to 5,000. We had as large a police force then 
as we have now with practically three times more people to look 
after, but we have a different class to look after now. The great- 
est need we have of a police force is to look after men who get 
drunk in another state and come over to Fargo to sober up. 

Mayor's Office, Fargo, N. D., April 16, 1907. 
The Hon. The City Council: 

The charter governing cities in the State of North Dakota, 
makes it the duty of the Mayor to transmit to the council, annually, 
and from time to time, messages and to give the council such 
information, and make such recommendations as it may deem it 
to be for the best interest of the city. In obedience to that part 
of the charter, it affords me pleasure to give you some facts relating 
to the city of Fargo, from May i, 1906, to April i, 1907 — except 

2o6 J. A. JOHNSON 

as you will note that a few items will cover the full year of 1906 
and others from March i, 1906 to March i, 1907. Fargo, in 
common with the state of North Dakota, has had a very pros- 
perous year. The report of the building inspector shows that 
$487,783.00 was expended in new buildings and additions in 
1906. These are the estimates given when building permits 
were issued. To this sum it is safe to add at least 20 per cent 
which will make the amount expended in buildings, repairs and 
additions the sum of $577,339.00. From present indications, 
as well as contracts already let, it is safe to say that provided men 
and materials can be obtained, the money expended in buildings 
this year will not fall much, if any, short of $1,000,000.00. It 
is to be hoped that conditions will fulfill the excellent promise 
we now have as the most prosperous year in the history of Fargo. 

The Water- Works 

The citizens of Fargo are vitally interested in the water supply 
of the city. It should not only be of good quality but in sufficient 
quantity to supply not only the population of to-day, but to 
supply a much larger population than we now have. We are 
growing much faster than a great many people believe it possible. 
In proof of this all anyone needs to do is to visit the different 
sections of the city and see the new buildings being erected, and 
the huge piles of brick and lumber all ready to be used as soon as 
conditions favor building operations. As another proof of our 
growth, I will call your attention to the fact that the enrollment 
in our public schools exceeds 2,300 pupils, and that there was on 
March ist, this year, more than 4,500 students in the various 
educational institutions of Fargo. 

Last fall the council appointed a special "Water Commission." 
It consists of the Mayor as chairman, and the following well 
known citizens; W. A. Knerr, ist Ward; Joseph Ames, Second 
Ward; W. A. Scott, Third Ward; Judge Spalding, Fourth Ward; 
S. G. Roberts, Fifth Ward; Morton Page, Sixth Ward; Pro- 

The Uncertainty of Flirtation — The W. C. T. U. Delegates Go Back 
ON Their Promise to Grand Forks, and Will Sunday at Fargo. 




fessor F. E. Ladd, Seventh Ward to which was added Professor 
D. E. Willard, geologist of the Agricultural College; S. F. Crabbe, 
City Engineer, and N. C. Morgan, City Auditor. The com- 
mission held several meetings and discussed not only the best 
way of getting water, but whether it would be best to filter the 
water we now have, or bore for artesian water and ascertain, 
not only whether it could be secured in sufficient quantity but of 
good quality. The majority of the commission favored artesian 
wells. On the other hand. Prof. Ladd contended that if the 
water from the river if properly filtered was better than any 
artesian water he had analyzed. It was not deemed best to 
attempt either until consent to use the park for the purpose had 
been obtained from the Northern Pacific Railway, for the reason 
that the easement under which the city holds the park, prohibits 
its use for anything but a park for the pubHc. To the reply 
that we received from the Railway Company, we found that 
protests had been made, by the citizens of Fargo to any further 
extension of the water works there. The Railway Company 
stated that they did not feel like deciding the matter between the 
citizens of Fargo, but did want to do what was best for all con- 
cerned. Later investigations proved that Judge C. F. Amidon of 
the U. S. Court, had protested against extensions of the water 
works in the park. City Attorney Resser and I called on the 
Judge at his chambers, on Monday, February nth last, and 
tried to induce him to withdraw his protest, but met indififerent 
success, in fact, no success at all. If any one can induce him to 
withdraw his objections, I do not apprehend that the Railway 
Company would interpose any objections. Before any more of 
the public funds are used to extend the plant any further where 
it is located, it may be best to look into the matter and see if it 
would not be economy in the end to move it. There is no divi- 
sion of opinion that it is located in as poor a place as it could be, 
but neither you or I are in any way responsible for its location. 
It has been but recently submerged and is liable to be any time 

2o8 J. A. JOHNSON 

when the conditions are similar to what they have been the last 
winter. Had it not been for the fire engine, our citizens would 
have been practically cut off from any water-supply; in addition 
to this, had a fire started when the plant was under water the 
city would have been at the mercy of the flames, for with our 
splendidly equipped paid fire department, they would have been 
helpless, being without water, the small engine at the top of the 
hill could not have supplied the fire engine with water for five 

Following are the receipts and disbursements of the water 
works from March i, 1906 to March i, 1907; viz., receipts, 
$31,502.23; disbursements for the same time, $30,583.81. In 
addition to the actual cost of operating the plant, the following 
sums were used for the purposes named; viz., $9000 towards the 
erection of the city hall, $1030 to the San Francisco sufferers, 
$1400 interest on outstanding bonds. 

The Bonded Debt of Fargo 

The bonded debt of Fargo amounts to $124,000.00, divided 

and due as follows : 

November ist., 1911 — Interest 6 per cent $40,000.00 

January ist., 1911 — " 7 per cent 20,000.00 

December ist., 1913 — " 6 per cent 25,000. 00 

November ist., 1915 — " 6 per cent 30,000. 00 

January ist., 1924 — " 5 per cent 9,000.00 

$124,000. 00 
Of above bonds $60,000 are bonds assumed by the city when 
the water works were bought; $30,000 are refunding water and 
sewer bonds and $34,000 refunding bonds. 

To offset the above bonds there is in the various sinking 
funds the sum of $36,957.21. If the bonds could be taken up to 
the extent of the sinking fund, it would only leave an indebtedness 
of $87,042.79. City Treasurer, C. H. Mitchell, informs me that 
he will call in all outstanding warrants issued prior to April ist 
this year. This is a gratifying showing, more especially if taken 


in connection with the message I sent to the council in April, 
1906. Also with the farther fact that the tax levy for last year 
was the lowest that has been levied in Fargo since the fire of 
June 7, 1S93, and it is confidentally expected that this year's 
levy will be lower than the one of last year. 

The Police Department 
By referring to the annual report of the Chief of the Fire 
Department, you will see that it is in excellent condition. That 
the men have performed their duties to the general satisfaction of 
the citizens is conceded by all. Since the old city offices were 
turned over to the department, the men have more room and are 
in every way better situated and consequently more contented. 
If you have not been in their rooms lately, you will find it worth 
while to go and see them. The changes that have been made 
have been done almost entirely by the men themselves ; we have 
some fine mechanics in the department, which is shown by their 
work. The report is worthy the department represented. The 
recommendations will no doubt be considered by the proper 
committee of your honorable body. 

Assessments and Taxes 
The question of taxes is at all times a fruitful subject. How- 
ever we may feel on the subject, it comes as regularly as the 
seasons ; while we live it is one of the things — like death — that 
must be met. In 1906, the assessments for city purposes, and that 
is the only tax the Mayor and Council are responsible for — was 
21. 6-10 mills. In 1905 it was 23 mills and in 1904, it was 23.3-11 
mills. The saving to the tax payers of Fargo over that of 1905, 
amounts to $5,896.79. From present indications the tax rate 
will be much lower this year than it was for last. The reason 
for it is this : The leading business men of Fargo have volunta- 
rily offered to have their property assessments increased very 
materially. In fact that applies to all lines of merchandise. 


The system of assessments at best is bad, very bad. Men whose 
word can be taken without question on almost any other subject, 
do not think it wrong to return their property at a much lower 
value than it really has, yes and even conceal from the assessor 
everything that is not really in sight. The assessed valuation of 
Fargo as it came from the State Board of Equalization in 1906, 
was $4,213,243.00. That included all railway and every other 
species of property subject to assessment. Every one who knows 
anything about Fargo, knows this is absurd! There was never 
$25,000,000 gold coined by the United States that could, if for 
sale, buy the entire property in Fargo that is subject to taxation. 


The various appropriations made in 1906, with the exception 
of the Engineering Department, the City Hall, Furniture and 
Fixtures, the Health Department and Meat Inspection have been 
kept within their proportion for the first six months of the fiscal 
year. Some of the ones named may not be sufficient to cover the 
next six months, but the shortage, except furniture and fixtures 
for the City Hall, will be light, if any. 

Fargo continues to be the financial headquarters for the new 
Northwest. On March ist this year, there was on deposit in the 
banks in Fargo the sum of $3,117,922.00. The Northwestern 
Mutual Savings and Loan Association had assets to the value 
of $852,105.11 and the Northern Trust Company to the amount 
of $471,064.14, making the grand sum of $4,410,094.21 on deposit 
and savings account. 

Respectfully submitted, 

J. A. Johnson, Mayor. 



November ii, 1900. 

The last eighteen months of the Civil War, I was one of the 

many locomotive engineers in the employ of the United States. 

My headquarters were supposed to be at Stevenson, Alabama, but 

I spent but little time there. When we went out with our engines 

we never knew when we would be back or where we would be 

sent to before we returned. We all had narrow escapes and 

adventures without number, and to even attempt to tell one tenth 

part of what I saw and went through while I was in the United 

States service would fill your entire paper and then all would not 

be told. I will simply confine myself to the last few months 

before the surrender of General Lee. In January, 1865, I was 

ordered to take a train to Huntsville, Alabama. I had never 

been over the road, but that was a common thing to send you 

anywhere ; the mere fact that you did not know where grades and 

stations were, did not seem to make any difference to the military 

authorities. I got to Huntsville alright, and the next morning 

started back with empty cars, only the regular train crew along. 

Everything went well till we reached Woodsonville, where there 

was a water tank and we had to take water. While my fireman, 

Joe Courtney, took water I got off to oil my engine. I had oiled 

one side and had started to oil the other, when in looking up I 

saw about a half mile from me about thirty troopers in grey, 

coming as fast as their horses could go. I did not finish oiling, 

but jumped on my engine, told Joe to throw up the spout and I 

pulled the throttle. At first the Confederates did not notice what 

we were doing they were so intent upon getting within reach of 

us, but with quick action engine and cedar fuel, we soon had steam 

enough to make her "hum" and had the train where we could 

do as we pleased. The country was open and not at all hilly, 

and we could watch the Confederates doing their best to get 

within shot of the caboose. As they began to see that they could 

not do it, they finally gave it up and sent us a parting volley. 

312 J. A. JOHNSON 

At another time in coming from Chattanooga, Tennessee, 
going to Stevenson, we stopped at Whiteside, a station in the 
Racoon Mountains, and stayed there all one night. At that sta- 
tion the paymaster's train had been stopped and attacked by 
guerillas in the hope that they could secure the funds on the train 
that was to be paid out to the troops. There was continuous 
fighting all night between the train guards and crews who had 
been armed for that purpose, and the guerillas. We finally beat 
off the robbers, for that is what they were, and I proceeded to 
Stevenson while the train master went on to Chattanooga. Be- 
tween Bridgeport, Alabama, and Chattanooga, Tennessee, we 
had to pass over one of the most unique railroad tressels, in the 
Racoon Mountains, that has ever been used by any railroad in 
the world. Prior to the war there had been a good substantial 
bridge over the chasm, but when the Confederates had to retreat, 
they destroyed that and the Federals had to replace it. The First 
Michigan engineers and mechanics were put to work and in about 
ten days they had a structure that had not a single bolt in it. It 
must have been at least 200 feet from the bottom of the chasm 
to the rail, and the material used was jack pine taken from the 
side of the mountain and set one on top of another, braced and 
simply spiked together. It had the old-fashioned spike which 
was as brittle as glass and not like the wire spike of to-day. What 
made it so much worse was the fact that it curved at both ends, 
some thing like the letter "S." I always breathed easier after 
getting off that tressel and I presume everyone else did the same. 

At another time I was in Chattanooga and was told that I 
would have to go to Knoxville, only about one hundred and ten 
miles away. I had never been over that road either. I started 
one afternoon in the first part of March. I found that there were 
seven trains ahead of me and that many behind me, thus making 
it dangerous at both ends, and I had no doubt then, nor have I 
now, that there were other engineers, who like myself, entirely 
unacquainted with the road. Everything went well till we came 


to Cleveland, Tenn. There we met about as many trains as we 
had, and I was more than twelve hours from the time I arrived 
to the time I left, but had kept moving all the time to let trains 
pass. We had but a short side track for about thirty trains to 
pass each other on. It took us thirty-six hours to go from Chatta- 
nooga to Knoxville. On arriving at Knoxville, Mr. Mason the 
master-mechanic, ordered me to proceed to Bulls Gap, Virginia, 
I protested that I was not in a condition to go till I had some sleep. 
I was threatened with the guard house if I did not obey. I told 
him that if he forced me to go, before starting I would leave a 
written protest with General Carter, commanding at Knoxville. 
That I was not fit to go and could not be responsible for any 
accident. At that Mr. Mason relented, not daring to take the 
risk and I was permitted to get some rest before I had to go out 

At another time I was coming from Dalton, Georgia, to Chat- 
tanooga, one night, going down the grade before ascending 
Mission Ridge, I saw the gleam of a gun ahead, I told my fireman 
to throw himself down on the foot board which he did, and I lost 
no time in doing the same. We did not do so any too quick, 
for we soon had a volley fired at us, the glass in the cab was rid- 
dled and even the "jacket" of the engine had a number of bullet 
holes in it. I expected to find myself in the ditch soon, but 
fortunately for me, I missed that. It was the usual custom of 
the guerillas to first tear up the track, and then leave a guard to 
look after the engineer and fireman in case they escaped death, 
and the remainder to go back and capture the conductor and his 
men. The only way that I can account for our escape, was that 
I had been running pretty fast for the country and the condition of 
the track, and the guerillas had not had time to tear up the track 
before we were upon them. 

The last time I ever took a train from Chatanooga to Knox- 
ville, I met with the only mishap I had while in the government 
service. At Concord an oflacer, whom I did not know — a 

214 J- A. JOHNSON 

Colonel — came and asked me if he could ride on the engine — 
the tender was full of soldiers then. 

I told him he could if he would keep out of the fireman's way. 
That he agreed to. I was chatting with him when I whistled for 
Erin, but a few miles from Knoxville, passed where the town had 
been, and at the farther end of the siding it curved away from my 
side of the cab and it was also down grade quite a bit, I was mak- 
ing pretty good time when I discovered that the switch had been 
turned. I did all I could to stop the train, but failed and the 
result was the engine and two cars, filled with soldiers, left the 
rail, but did not fall into the ditch. The engine was disabled and 
the only way the train back of us could be moved was to send to 
Knoxville for a wrecking crew, which was done. One of the 
trains delayed, General Thomas was on, and he came forward 
to investigate and I fear, had it not been for the officer who was 
on my engine, whom I then found to be Colonel Gilbert, I don't 
remember his command, I would have been put under arrest and 
court martialed. The soldiers as well as General Thomas were 
on their way to Virginia to intercept General Lee in case he should 
attempt to get away from General Grant, who was pushing him 
very hard around Richmond. 

At another time we were corralled at Decherl, Tennessee, 
where we were kept for two days while the Confederates were 
trying to capture the vast amount of mihtary stores that ac- 
cumulated there. 

The soldier was in danger all the time, but the railroad man 
was in battle every moment he was on the road. The track was 
not fit to run any trains on, yet the necessities of the government 
were so great that very often we had to make very fast time, run- 
ning as high as 30 miles an hour. That was fast there and no 
one who knew the conditions of the track and bridges, would risk 
going at any speed could they have avoided it. 

At a fixe among the government warehouses, filled with am- 
munition, in the last part of March or first of April, 1865, Mr. 


Hobbs the master-mechanic, asked for volunteers to go and pull 
some of the cars out which were in danger. My engine was stand- 
ing ready to go out and I volunteered, not realizing the danger, 
at first and after starting I would not go back. Hon. A. L, Carey 
ex-insurance commissioner of this state, coupled the car to the 
engine. The clerk of court of Richland County, and an old sol- 
dier in Benson County, whose name I cannot now recall, stood 
and watched me pull the cars out. 




North Dakota will have as her guest for a short time this even- 
ing President McKinley and wife, and several members of his 
cabinet. It is not often that the Northwest is favored with a 
visit of a president. 

The Presidential party wall be met at Duluth by Congress- 
man Spalding and Judge Pollock, and at Staples by Judge Ami- 
don, Marshall Haggart, Mayor Johnson, Captain Gearey, all 
members of the reception committee. The other members of the 
reception remaining in Fargo, will have charge of arrangements 
at this end of the line, and will receive the distinguished party and 
assign them to carriages. 

The first carriage wall be occupied by President and Mrs. 
McKinley and Mayor Johnson. Then will come Secretary 
Gage, Marshall Haggart, Judge Pollock, Judge Amidon, Secre- 
ta.ry Wilson, President Worst and two A. C. professors. 

Secretar}' Rixey, Governor Devine, Messrs. Kleinogle and 
Von Neida. Captain Gearey, Senator Hansborough and wife. 
Lieutenant Hildreth, Senator McCumber and wife. Secretaries 
Corteylou and Finny and F. J. Thompson. The press repre- 
sentatives will be cared for by Messrs. Jordan, Lounsberry and 

The committees in charge are : 

Reception: Hon. B. F. Spalding, Senator Hansborough, Hon. 

L. A. Rose, Marshall Haggart, Judge Amidon, Mayor Johnson, 

Judge Pollock, Captain Gearey, Major Edwards, Col. Robinson, 

and President Worst. 


220 J. A. JOHNSON 

Arrangements: Mayor Johnson, chairman; J. B. Folsom, 
A. L. Loomis, W. C. ^IcFadden, Col. Gearey, Alderman Lewis, 
James Kennedy, and Frank Thompson. — - 

Mayor Johnson tried to get some rifles for the soldiers to use 
in the parade, but was unable to do so. He wTote to the Secretary 
of War for the loan of some guns, supposed to be at Fort Snelling, 
and received the follo\\ing telegram : 

Washington, D. C. 
J. A. Johnson, Mayor, Fargo, N. D. 

No authority of law for loaning guns. Have no guns at St. 
Paul. DuTTON, Acting Chief of Ordinance. 

The Mayor then heard of a few obsolete guns at Bismarck and 
wired Gen. ]Miller if they could be secured. Gov. DeWne sent 
the following in reply : 

My Dear Mr. Johnson: 

General Miller some few days ago submitted a telegram from 
you, asking for some guns to assist in the reception to President 
McKinley. I gave him orders for a favorable reply. A telegram 
yesterday was discussed at some considerable length, but we deem 
it not ad\dsable. General Miller informs me that heretofore on 
occasions of this kind, there has always been considerable loss as 
to the number of guns returned. The companies in no little 
measure will recruit \\ith new men. There will be no one directly 
responsible. For this reason and this only, we thought it best 
not to permit the guns being taken from the armory. 

When inteniewed, Mayor Johnson said: I have tried to se- 
cure guns for the volunteers for the President's reception. The 
state has sufficient for that purpose, guns that are obsolete, and 
as far as weapons are concerned for the soldiers in service worth- 
less, yet Governor Devine refuses to let us have the old things 
for fear some of them might get lost. They are not worth steal- 
ing. I don't suppose they could be sold in open market for Si.oo 


'''■'■ ■ .Tr 

The Elder One — "Xow, Sonny, if You Want Anything 
More, Just Name It." 

^ ^lEW YORK 


j Tlt-Dfc^ FO'JNOA IONS 


a piece. Even the Pop Governor of Minnesota saw that Minne- 
sota troops had arms in passing in review before a Republican 
President, while our Republican governor refuses the loan of a 
pile of scrap iron. 

After the public reception of President McKinley, Mayor 
Johnson's family were received privately by President and Mrs. 
McKinley. Later in the evening, the Mayor lost a valuable 
diamond stud, the gift of his appointees — the newspapers joshed 
him a good about the loss. 

Mandan Pioneer: Mayor Johnson has the sweet and the sour 
in his cup of late. First came the rebuff when he wanted the 
soldiers to have their guns, when they met President McKinley — 
then came the sweet when he rode in the carriage with President 
McKinley. How the good Mayor's heart would swell with per- 
sonal and ci\ic pride as he rode through the city with the first 
gentlemen of the land. Then came the sour again, when he lost 
the diamond stud, for which he is now advertising. Mayor 
Johnson deported himself like a genial host of the city of Fargo, 
and he is to be congratulated. 

Hope Pioneer: The Mayor of Fargo, — whose name sounds 
something like Johnson — claims to have lost his diamond stud. 
It is not believed by anyone that the Mayor has done business 
with Uncle Three Balls, or that the President touched the spark. 


Jamestown Journal, April 3, 1901. 

Mayor J. A. Johnson of Fargo, N. D., and President of the 
League of American Municipalities, arrived in the city this morn- 
ing, and in company with his daughter will spend several days here. 
President and Miss Johnson are the guests of Mine Host Hurl- 
burt of the New Sherman, where they have met many James- 
town citizens during the day, an impromptu luncheon was given 
in their honor this noon by Col. F. P. Cobham. During the 

222 J. A. JOHNSON 

afternoon Miss Johnson held quite a little reception in the parlors 
of the New Sherman, as so many of the Jamestown ladies called. 

The Mayor has been in Europe for tke past four months, 
visiting England, France, Germany, Belgium, Norway, Denmark, 
and Sweden, returning to the States a few days ago, when Miss 
Johnson met him in Portland, Maine, and after spending a short 
time in Boston and New York they came here, in the interests 
of the meeting of the convention of the League in August of this 

"I look to the coming convention as the best and most im- 
portant one in the history of the League" said Mr. Johnson to the 
Journal representative. "And I have no doubt as to Jamestown's 
ability to properly entertain such a gathering as this will be. 
While here I shall look about the city with the intention of ex- 
amining your halls and places of public meeting, with a view of 
securing a place for the convention that will properly accommodate 
the visiting exhibitors as well as the convention itself. You may 
say, however, that the convention headquarters in this city will be 
at the New Sherman House." 

This evening Miss Peckham, daughter of Judge Peckham will 
entertain for Miss Johnson. 

April 4th Mayor Johnson of Fargo, and his daughter were 
the guests of honor at a trolley ride this morning. The private 
car was used and the party included Mayor Johnson and daugh- 
ter, of Fargo, Mayor Johnson and daughter, of Jamestown, E. B. 
Cressy, banker, and his daughter; F. A. Fuller, Junior President 
of the Board of Education; President Collins, of the council; A. 
J. Butts, of the board of public works ; Judge Peckham and daugh- 
ter; Col. F. P. Cobham, George E. Maltby, superintendent of the 
Street Railway Company; George Hurlburt, proprietor of the 
New Sherman, and a representative of the Journal. 

The party enjoyed a ride about the city, covering the different 
loops and going out to Falconer and Celoron. Different points 
worthy of note were pointed out along the route, and the guests 


expressed interest in the city and pleasure at the hospitality- 

The only stop made during the ride was at Lake View Rose 
Gardens, the largest in the world. Not only the guests of honor 
but the Jamestown members of the party were amazed at the 
elaborate and magnificent display. 

Upon the arrival of Mayor Johnson and daughter at their 
apartments in the New Sherman, after the trolley ride, they did 
not recognize the rooms ; they were simply a mass of palms, mag- 
nificent flowering plants and cut flowers, there was not a space in 
the rooms left undecorated, immense bunches of American 
beauty roses, tied with large bows of ribbon, lay on tables and 
window sills, completely covering them. 

All the palms and flowering plants will be sent by express to 
Mrs. Johnson in Fargo, and presented to her from Jamestown. 

Mr. and Mrs. Bemis entertain for Mayor and Miss Johnson 
this evening and to-morrow they leave for their home in Fargo, 
but will spend several days enroute, in Chicago, Milwaukee, and 
the Twin Cities. 



Bufifalo Courier, August 26, 1901. 

J. A. Johnson, the Mayor who does things for Fargo, will be 
a prominent figure at the Exposition to-day, which is listed on the 
official programme as Municipal Day. 

It is not necessary to say that Fargo is the metropolis of North 
Dakota, as it was before Mr. Johnson first assumed the position 
of mayor, several years ago. He has "done things" for Fargo, 

224 J- A. JOHNSON 

with the result that it is known all over the country, and especially 
throughout the Northwest, as "the convention city." 

Several years ago the Republicans of Fargo were casting about 
for a mayoral candidate and they struck upon J. A. Johnson, a 
popular Scandinavian, who had the largest business in agricul- 
tural implements of anybody in the city, which is, by the way, 
the second distributing point for agricultural implements in the 
United States, regardless of size. 

Johnson was elected and the town woke up to the fact that it 
had a mayor who took an interest in it. When some taxpayer 
came with a complaint, Johnson didn't refer him to some depart- 
ment head to be in turn referred to somebody lower down, but he 
investigated and if the complaint was a just one, got out personally 
and settled the trouble. 

The office was his hobby. He gave more time to it than he 
did to his personal business, and the fact that he lost money by 
so doing didn't seem to worry him at all. He wanted Fargo to 
become known and recognized among the municipalities of the 
country. He set about making it so. 

When he heard of some celebrity in the East or in Europe, 
who was heading westward, Mayor Johnson made it his business 
to get in communication with him and bring him to Fargo. When 
there was a convention in sight Mayor Johnson got out after it. 
He didn't merely send an invitation and await results. He went 
personally after that convention. The result was he got them 
by the score. It made business better in Fargo and it advertised 
the town. 

The farmers' annual convention, which is a great institution 
in North Dakota, was one of his schemes. This holds a week's 
session in the middle of each winter at Fargo and brings 2,000 
of the state's farmers together to discuss practical farming and 
marketing of crops. They are led in their discussions by scientific 
agriculturists from the colleges and by railroad men of standing 
whose business brings them in close touch with the markets. 


"Jim" Hill, the great railway magnate of the Northwest, never 
thinks of missing a meeting of this convention and is on hand 
as regularly as it comes around. 


Mayor Johnson is seeking, not only by getting conventions, 
but in every other way, to benefit the city which honors him with 
the position of chief executive. He is one of the charter members 
of the League of American Municipalities. When the call went 
out for its first meeting three or four years ago. Mayor Johnson 
responded and jumped into the work of its organization with 
such vigor that he was made chairman of the executive committee. 
The next two years he was one of the vice-presidents and then he 
became president. He has just come from Jamestown, N. Y., 
where he presided over its last meeting. 

But in spite of the fact that he is the Pingree of the Northwest 
and is now filling his fourth consecutive term in the office, the 
Mayor has had his political troubles. Three years ago he was the 
victim of a Republican "deal" in the nominating convention 
and was beaten, but this did not discourage him. He wanted to 
be mayor so he got his friends out and secured the requisite num- 
ber of signatures to nominate him by petition and thus got a place 
on the ballot as an Independent. He also accepted the nomination 
of the Democrats and Populists and beat the Republican candi- 
date, who was supposed to be a very strong man, "hands 

Mayor Johnson now gives most of his time to the duties of his 
office and is recompensed with a salary of $1,200 a year. This 
was voted during his previous term in office, the previous com- 
pensation being $100, but it did not become available till he en- 
tered upon his new term. The fact that the Mayor was to be 
paid for his trouble made competition keener than ever for the 
office, and Johnson found himself with the fight of his life on his 
hands, but he won. 

226 J. A. JOHNSON 


Under the progressive leadership of Mayor Johnson, Fargo 
has taken a place in the very front rank of-American cities. Its 
bank clearances exceed that of any city of 40,000 inhabitants 
east of the Mississippi River; it has more miles of paved streets 
and more miles of sewer and water mains than any other city of 
equal size in the country; its schools and colleges are the equal 
of those found anywhere; it is the Episcopal See of both the 
Protestant Episcopal and the Catholic Churches; it is the rail- 
way center of the new Northwest, having three of the greatest 
railway systems now existing, the Northern Pacific, the Great 
Northern, and the Chicago, Milwaukee & St. Paul, with another 
one about to be constructed. During the four terms Mayor 
Johnson has served, the running expenses of the city have been 
reduced 25 per cent. 

Nobody realizes better than Mayor Johnson the importance 
of railroads to a growing city like Fargo and the railroads seem to 
realize equally well that the efforts of Mayor Johnson in behalf 
of Fargo all tend to make business for them. The result of 
this is that there is little the Mayor wants for his conventions in 
the way of rates and concessions he doesn't get. Last January, 
the Soo railroad sent him to Europe to secure emigrants to settle 
along its lines. He was very successful in his mission, but while 
abroad gave some time to municipal matters. The paper which 
he reads to-day is the result of his investigations there. It is 
entitled "Municipal Ownership of Public Service Industries in 


Observer in Fargo Forum: To the disinterested onlooker 
much of the success of Fargo is due to the untiring efforts of 
Mayor Johnson. His successful efforts in securing conventions 
for the city have done more than any other ten agencies com- 
bined to advertise the city. For the same reason no other city 


between Minneapolis and the Coast is as well known and as 
favorably commented upon. The city's proud reputation has 
gone beyond the confines of the western states. Success to 
Fargo and its hustling mayor. 

Lisbon Free Press: Mayor Johnson makes a good advance 
agent for Fargo. Nearly every convention that has been held 
west of the Mississippi for the past two years has occurred in 
Fargo. Johnson is a regular sleuth on the trail of conventions 

— and there is no denying that they help wonderfully to 
demonstrate to the many visitors that Fargo is the greatest city 
of its size this side of Ladysmith. 

Forum: The Omemee Herald seems to labor under the im- 
pression that Fargo asked the State Press Association to come 

— but it was Mayor Johnson — who goes after everything in 
sight — from a cow convention to the Press Association. 

Grand Forks has organized a club to boom the city. Fargo 
does different. Mayor Johnson is a whole club in himself, and 
the rest of us don't have to bother, 

"Too Much Johnson" would play to empty benches in Fargo. 
The stretch of imagination would be more than a Fargo audience 
could grasp. 

The Noble who treked so lively with the cream colored outfit 
this afternoon came near running down Mayor Johnson, but 
then no man can keep his equilibrium better; he is a noble man 

Nothing gets away from Fargo's Mayor. Just look at the 
long list of attractions he has gotten for the city — and now he 
is having the fire whistles blown to attract the celestial bodies. 

The Grand Forks man who came to Fargo and Moorhead 
and lost his coonskin coat, now admits that he came down to be 
a little nearer the meteoric shower — supposing, of course, that 
Mayor Johnson would attract them a little nearer Fargo. But 
the Mayor was out of town, and the show did not come off. 

According to the Argus, the establishment of a government 

228 J. A. JOHXSOX 

recruiting station for the regular army at Fargo is another score 
for that cit}-'5 ingenious and hustling Mayor. Mavor addressed 
the War Department March 9th, and the result is the recent 
order from Washington. 

That Government gun is another charge against Johnson, 
who had it brought in from the coast over the X. P., free of 
charge. It's not the Mayor's gun, but Johnson had the car put 
in front the city park, and, got the gun ofif and located in city 
park — right where every one can see it. And there vou are. 

It was a mistake in not ha\-ing Mayor Johnson on that trans- 
portation committee; he'd fix all that up in a jiflfy. Fargo put 
him on the executive committee, knowing how he would act — 
and it was a surprise — he was not put on the transportation 
committee — the railroads know Mayor Johnson. 

One center of attraction to-day was the unloading of the 
Spanish ordnance piece presented to Fargo by the government. 
Mayor Johnson was an interested spectator, and during the 
short time he was there many citizens warmly congratulated him 
for the work he had done in securing the trophy for Far^ro. 

Steele Ozone: It is suspected Mayor Johnson \\ill ask the 
War Department for one of the Spanish warship hulks lying ofif 
Santiago, for use as a naval school at Fargo. He would then 
apply to Admiral Dewey to dedicate it and for Admiral Samp- 
son to command it. Fargo would then, argues the Mayor, be 
a naval station of the first water. 

Richland County Gazette: The laying of the comer stone of 
the new Masonic Temple was ver}- impressive. Fargo people 
spared no efiforts to make all comfortable. Then 10,000 people 
looked at the Mayor of Fargo and that was an honor to all. He 
led the procession, greeted even,- one with a smile, and saw that 
the finest order was obser\-ed and all the guests treated royally. 

Lidgerxood Broad Ax: Fargo is blessed with a husthng 
Mayor. If one-third of the citizens pushed Fargo as vehemently 
as he does — well, no wonder she is what she is. 


Oakes Republican : Fargo, led by the tireless Mayor Johnson, 
is making great preparations to entertain the Stock Growers' 
Convention. It keeps the rest of Fargo hustling to keep up with 
Mayor Johnson's procession. 

Neche Chrarwtype: Mayor Johnson is lecturing in South 
Dakota on "How to Run a City." The returns in the late 
municipal election would indicate that his honor would be equally 
at home were his subject "How to Run in a City." 

Sheldon's Progress: The great success which is attending 
Mayor Johnson's efforts to advertise the city of Fargo, suggests 
the expediency of establishing a state advertising and press 
bureau with Mr. Johnson at the head. 

Washington, D. C: North Dakota, twenty odd strong, 
reached here this morning and are seeing the town under 
the guidance of Senator Hansborough and Representative Spald- 
ing. Mayor Johnson is adding to the pleasure of the trip in all 
ways possible. He has seen Captain Sigsbee, through whom 
arrangements will be made for a call upon Ad mi ral Dewey. 

Bismarck Tribune: If Mayor Johnson does not reverse the 
order of the war department abolishing the recmiting station at 
Fargo, we will be both grieved and surprised. 

Northwood Gleaner: Captam Sigsbee had pressing business 
to attend to and could not extend his trip to Fargo, but Johnson 
of that city — Mayor J. A. Johnson of Fargo — went down to 
Minneapolis to bring the naval hero to Fargo for which he never 
fails to secure all the good things he goes after — and kept the 
lightning busy on the wires to Washington to arrange an extension 
of time, got what he wanted; got back to Fargo on double- 
quick time, and arranged a reception for Captain Sigsbee, of 
which the city had reason to feeel proud, and the Captain en- 
joyed it imxnensely, too. Now, what is the matter with. John- 
son, Mayor of Fargo? He's all right! 'Rah for Johnson! 
Mayor Johnson of Fargo! 

Minneapolis Tribune : As yet the agitation over the city elec- 

230 J. A. JOHNSON 

tion in Fargo is in embryo. The horoscope at present points to 
the election of Mavor Johnson. The opposition has a drag-net 
out searching for a man to ]nt against the redoubtable Mayor, 
but so far no Moses has been discovered. Johnson, with his 
present backing, is a hard proposition to tackle. He has been 
defeated nearly every time — before election — but always comes 
up smiling when the votes are counted. 

Sliekioii's Progress: Johnson — Fargo's Dick Worthington — 
is again and still the " Great I am of the Gate-way City! " Bully 
for you, old man, grease up your typewTiter and set \\-ires in 
motion to have the whole blooming nation trek to North Dakota. 
You're the real thing, Mayor, Fargo has said it, and what Fargo 
says goes. 

The Detroit Free Press gives the portraits of four prominent 
mayors. First among these comes Mayor J. A. Johnson, of 
Fargo, then Mayor Sickle of Trenton, N. J., ^Mayor Weaver of 
Louisville, Mayor Phelan of San Francisco. Mayor Maybur}- 
of Detroit, drove to the hotel with his beautiful span of bays, 
and from all the mayors present he selected Mayor Johnson as 
his guest, and took him in tow, to see the sights. The question 
of civil service in municipal afltairs is inseparably linked with the 
question of municipal owership. Mayor Johnson has prepared 
an excellent disquisition on the subject, and his ideas \\-ill be of 
great value to the municipal men. 

Fiirgo Foruvr. Yesterday afternoon Mayor Johnson secured 
200 tickets for the poor children for the pony show, later Bishop 
Shanley purchased 200 more for a like purpose. These will be 
distributed to the children between the ages of six and twelve. 
Both Bishop Shanley and Mayor Johnson consider this show to 
be an educational feature, and wish the little ones to enjoy it. 

E.x-Mayor Johnson's efforts on behalf of the City Fire De- 
partment in securing free admission to the Minnesota fair has 
been rewarded. This morning he received a letter from the 
Secretarv enclosing passes for 30 of the members of the depart- 


ment. ]Mr. Johnson also secured a railroad rate of $3.50 for the 
fire boys and a trip from St. Paul to Stillwater to see the state 
penitentiar}-. The boys are profuse in their thanks, and cer- 
tainly appreciate the efforts of Mr. Johnson in their behalf. 

St. Paul Despatch: J. A. Johnson of Fargo, is another advo- 
cate of "sound money," who is made such by his business ex- 
perience and observation, and by his knowledge of forces which 
tend to operate to bring prosperity to a people. He is in every 
sense a self-made man. He is a man of strong convictions and 
to a question propounded by the Despatch: "WTiy are you a 
sound money man?" he replied, "I have traveled extensively 
in South America, Central America and Mexico, and have seen 
the effects of a debased currency upon the masses in those coun- 
tries, and cannot see where any benefit can be derived by a 
change in our monetar}^ system." 

The Mayor of Fargo, J. A. Johnson, when asked by the 
Fingal Herald "What can be done to advance the interests of 
North Dakota," said: 'T beg to say that to reply in full would 
take up more space than you would care to give it ; to make short 
would not give justice to the subject. In my opinion, among 
other things that could be done to advance the interests of North 
Dakota would be: Let the people who contemplate making a 
change of homes know that we have millions of acres of the most 
fertile lands in the world that can be had at a moietv, as com- 
pared with the worn out lands in the older states, or that can be 
had free under the homestead laws, the act of congress. That 
we have good schools, good churches ; that we are a law abiding 
people; that the crime record in North Dakota is lower than it is 
in any other state in the Union ; that life and property are as safe 
as in any part of the world; that taxes are low and investments 
are safe; that our railway facilities are equal to the best and 
superior to some of the older states, and it costs less to transport 
grain to the markets than it does for the farmers of Western 
Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska; that while the eastern part of the 

232 J. A. JOHNSON 

state is the paradise for wheat, flax and other small grains, the 
western part contains millions of acres of as fine ranges as can 
be found anywhere, where stock obtain food the whole year, and 
that the beeves, when they reach the great centers, command a 
premium over range stock from other parts of the Union. That 
we have an inexhaustible supply of native coal, sufl&cient to 
furnish the world for centuries to come, and that as soon as de- 
veloped, will furnish cheap fuel for all; that with less than one- 
sixteenth of our area under cultivation, we have raised more than 
12 per cent of the entire wheat crop of the entire United States, 
and that we will continue to do so for an indefinite length of time ; 
that flax, fiber and linseed oil mills are being located at various 
points in the state, thus insuring a sure market, not only for the 
seed, but for the straw as well, and, finally, above all things con- 
fine yourself to the truth as to the wonderful resources of the 
state. The truth is sufficient without any exaggeration, and 
will induce both capital and emigration to come, and North 
Dakota will receive its full share of those who wish to better their 

The Minneapolis Times gives out this self-explanatory arti- 
cle: Captain Charles D. Sigsbee, erst-while commander of the 
Kearsarge, the Maine and the St. Paul, says he is in somewhat 
danger of being a candidate for the sick bed by the kindness of 
his Northwestern friends and admirers. However, he comes 
up every morning with a ready smile and a cordial greeting for 
all who meet him. Yesterday morning he was in the barber 
chair in the Aberdeen, being shaved, and as soon as that function 
was over he was greeted by a very polite but very determined 
gentleman who addressed him thus : 

"Captain Sigsbee, I know this is not the place to address you, 
but I cannot take any chances of you getting away." 

The Captain smiled, and said all places were alike to good 
Americans, whereupon the other continued: 

"I am Mayor Johnson of Fargo, and have come down here 


to take you out to the metropolis of the Red River Valley, where 
for many years they have quit raising h — 1 and continue raising 
No. I Hard. I dare not go back without your promise to visit 
us, so it is up to you whteher I can go home either as Mayor or 
citizen again." 

Captain Sigsbee explained that his time was completely 
pledged till Saturday morning, and that his leave expired Mon- 
day morning, at which time he must be back in Washington to 
resume his duties as chief of the Naval Intelligence Bureau. He 
also explained that he had official and private business which 
necessitated his return to the East. To this the determined Mayor 
replied : 

"I am sorry about the private, but as to the official business 
I don't give a sou. We've got a couple of Senators down there 
in Washington, and if Hansborough can't get your leave of ab- 
sence extended, he'd better quit the political field in North Da- 
kota. I'll wire him to have it stretched forty-eight hours, and 
you can bet your promotion he \\dll get it." 

Sigsbee caved. He went to Fargo on Saturday, was delighted 
with the hospitality extended. Anything hustling Mayor John- 
son can't do, isn't worth noticing, and this is. 

Note: Captain Sigsbee and Mayor Johnson at that time 
formed a sincere friendship which only ended with death. 

Fargo Journal: Ex-Mayor Johnson's popularity, untiring 
activity and countless good acts to benefit mankind and humanity 
in common have aroused the fire of blood in the warm hearts of 
the people, they will elect him Mayor and pay him fitting honors. 

Ex-Mayor Johnson has announced his candidacy. True to 
his colors, he acted immediately on the demand of a multitude 
of admirers in every walk of life within the confines of the city, 
the most prominent men in Fargo, many of them, than whom 
there are none living or have lived, possessed of grander qualities 
of the calibre of patriots — the kind of men honored in all com- 
munities, who live and die as men should — as the acme of true 

234 J- A. JOHNSON 

heroism and noble manhood; these are the men of to-day who 
signalled his call, and hand in hand, as it were — join in the rank, 
and file with the humbler citizens to elect him Mayor again. 
There is but one reason given. Mayor Johnson is the best 
mayor Fargo ever had or will have. We want him again. He 
started well — he will so end this election. The result of the 
awakening of those interests vital to the welfare to each and 
every one, will find a warm response from Mayor Johnson, who 
will again assume the cares of the ofiice and give to Fargo, her 
citizens and every one within her gates, the happy medium of 
government, that -will team over in its radiance of sunlight glow 
and pour benefits into the field, into the workshop, the home, the 
schools, the colleges, the churches — all — better than we have 
experienced before. 

Morning Call: Mayor Johnson had more votes than both 
other candidates combined — and then some — as was prophe- 
sied. Johnson, 1,140. Wall, 7 3o. Aaker, 269. 

[Mr. Johnson was always very grateful to Mr. Jordan, edi- 
tor of the Call.] 

Mr. Jordan offered the support of his paper many times after 
great inducements had been made for him to leave Mr. Johnson, 
but on the contrary did all he could to help Mr. Johnson. Neither 
before or after election would he accept anything for the use of 
his paper, but always maintained that he wanted Mr. Johnson 
to feel under no obligations. He was one of Mr. Johnson's 
chief advisers and best friends — and still maintains that atti- 
tude toward Mr. Johnson's family. 

Forum: Captain Sigsbee says he is greatly impressed with 
Mayor Johnson's hustling ability, and if he is a fair sample, the 
westerners are the greatest people on earth. 

The Mayor did more than the Spanish were able to accom- 
plish, as he captured the Captain, and Fargo will see him along 
with the cannon. 

Jamestown, N. Y., Advocate: More than one thousand people 


stood for three hours listening to talks by Mayor Johnson of 
Fargo, N. D., and Mayor Jones of Toledo, Ohio. 

The assemblage was a mass meeting of the Central Labor 
unions and the Woodworkers, an open-air meeting. The first 
speaker was ]SIayor Johnson, President of the League of Ameri- 
can Municipalities, who spoke in part as follows: I feel honored 
in speaking to the workmen of Jamestown. I honor the men 
and women who work for their daily bread. I am and always 
have been a working man. No person in this city ever labored 
harder or under more discouraging circumstances than I have. 
I have worked at all kinds of labor and have learned by exper- 
ience to have full sympathy for all toilers. I believe that all men 
and women who work should organize for mutual benefit and 
protection, but in all their dealings they should use reason. 

Portland Oregonian: Ex-Mayor Johnson of Fargo, North 
Dakota, is in the city on a combined business and pleasure trip. 
Much as he admires Portland and the coast there is no place 
quite equal to Fargo. Mr. Johnson most thoroughly demon- 
strated his belief in Fargo twenty-five years ago, by building, 
what was then and still is, the most expensive house in his home 
city. The writer has often been a guest in the beautiful home of 
the ex-Mayor — a home that has had expended upon it more 
than $20,000. The site at the time of the building was a part 
of one of North Dakota's wheat fields. Mr. Johnson says when 
that was builded, he intended that it should be his home till he 

On November 9, 190-, the long looked for city hall of the 
City of Fargo was dedicated last night. A public reception was 
held, the Mayor and wife, city council and wives and the city 
officials and their wives being the receiving committee. The 
entire hall was thrown open; every office open for the inspection 
of the public with more than obliging officials to look after every 
want. The reception took place in the Mayor's office and the 
many expressions concerning the furnishings of both the public 

236 J. A. JOHNSON 

and private offices of the Mayor were very gratifying to hear. 
Rugs on the floor, paintings and pictures of interest adorned the 
walls, leather upholstered easy chairs and couch, desks and 
bookcases, all of black walnut, all the personal property of Mayor 
Johnson, excepting a rug in the private office, which is the proper- 
ty of the city. The furniture looked exceptionally nice as the 
result of the many days of labor expended upon it by George 
Hartman, a member of the city fire department. He had repol- 
ished all the wood-work by hand, and had done so at his own 
request and at no expense to Mayor Johnson. 

The stairway leading to the Council Chambers was banked 
with palms, also the property of the Mayor, and here Rupert's 
orchestra was stationed, dispersing sweet music the entire even- 
ing. After the reception, all repaired to the Council Chambers 
where after a few remarks of the Mayor, during which he con- 
gratulated the citizens of Fargo on the building of the city hall, 
of which all should be proud, he welcomed the guests in the 
name of the City. He then called upon Bishop Shanley, Su- 
preme Judge Engerud, Judge Pollock and Judge Hanson, who 
all delivered able addresses. 

The Mayor then called upon the building committee who 
had done so much to make the building the great success it was, 
and for a few remarks from the contractors who so ably executed 
the work. 

[Mr. Johnson was the first Mayor to occupy the offices in the 
city hall, those offices are now occupied by City Attorney Resser, 
a personal friend of Mr. Johnson.] 

On January 15, 1907, a meeting of the Municipal League of 
North Dakota was held in Fargo, of which organization Mayor 
Johnson is President. He had been quite seriously ill for several 
days and the Fargo City officials took as much of the care as 
possible from him. City Attorney Resser and Auditor Morgan, 
looking after the comfort of the guests, with City Engineer Crabbe, 
every place doing everything for everybody. In the evening, 


Mayor Johnson entertained the members of the League and the 
City Council at a banquet at the Commercial Club. Here also, 
all the care was taken from the Mayor, during the reception the 
City Appointees attended to the visiting guests, and the banquet 
was made a success by the untiring efforts of City Engineer Sam 
Crabbe and Deputy Auditor Charlie Schruth. Later all attended 
the Grand Theatre as guests of the management. 

The next day a friend spoke to the Mayor about the exertion 
to him of the night before, to which the Mayor responded: "It 
was no care to me, I was taken care of as though I was a baby 
and Sam and Charlie could not have been more careful of my 
health if they had been my own boys, why think of it, that Sam 
Crabbe even had the gall to take me home and see me inside my 
own door before I could get rid of him, although I assured him 
time and again that I did not imbibe so freely that I could not 
walk. " 

At the Labor Day celebration in Fargo, September 3, 1907, 
Mr. B. F. Lathrope, one of the leading men of the Labor organiza- 
tions in the state, and chairman of the exercises, paid the late 
Mayor Johnson the following tribute : 

One year ago to-day. Organized Labor of Fargo held its first 
Labor Day demonstration, and it was no small task to inaugurate 
the first demonstration of this kind to be held in the city. We went 
about it with fear and trembling. The first thing was to get the 
proper grounds for a picnic, for Labor Day without a picnic 
would never do — of course we wanted Island Park, but every 
one assured us we could never get Island Park, but that fear was 
entirely dispelled upon our first visit to the Mayor's office, all 
doubts were put to flight, for dear old Mayor Johnson, after listen- 
ing to our request, turned that genial, smiling countenance toward 
us and said, "Boys, not only the Park, but the whole city is yours 
for Labor Day and if there is anything I can do to help you, I 
shall be very glad to do it." We then invited him to preside as 
chairman of our platform meeting, and he as chairman introduced 

238 J. A. JOHNSON 

the speakers from this platform on the occasion, and we had 
planned to have him with us to-day, but the ever wise hand of 
Providence intervened, and much to our lasting regret, took from 
our midst our dear friend and benefactor. To-day we feel very 
keenly our loss and our hearts go out in sympathy to the bereaved 
ones who mourn for a loving father, a kind husband, and a devoted 

The Rev. William Edwards of Christine, N. D., pays the fol- 
lowing tribute: 

"The thousands of friends of the late Mayor J. A. Johnson, 
until his demise the highly esteemed and honored chief executive 
of Fargo, will be pleased to know that his biography and letters 
are to be published by his beloved family. This book will con- 
tain much important history and statistics of the state of North 
Dakota, which Mr. Johnson loved and served to the last of his 
earthly life. The record of this man's life and service is worthy of 
a place in every library in the State. He was both a statesman 
and a patriot and a pattern for all. 

"Fargo honored her late Mayor and fellow citizen with a 
funeral pageantry wet with the tears of honest grief. The greatest 
fraternity this side of the tomb carried the remains of their com- 
rade to his last earthly resting place, giving him the burial of a 
prince among men. 

'What means to us the rose-like cross, 
That he who lives for self shall suffer loss ; 
But he who builds the brotherhood of man 
Shall rise within the temple's wondrous plan. ' 

"The late Mayor Johnson made this his life motto. We 
shall treasure his beloved memory." 

At the meeting of the Municipal League in Grand Forks, 
resolutions deploring the death of Mayor Johnson were passed. 
Mr. Johnson of Fargo, was one of the most persistent advocates of 
the organization of this league in North Dakota cities, and with- 
al one of the most popular city executives the state has ever had. 


Bismarck, N. D., October 16, 1897. 
To His Excellency, William McKinley, 

President of the United States, Washington, D. C. 

Sir: It affords us pleasure to endorse Senator Hansbrough's 
recommendation of Hon. J. A. Johnson of Fargo, North Dakota, 
for appointment as United States Consul at Gothenburg, Sweden. 

Mr. Johnson- by birth, education, travel, business ability 
and personal qualifications, is eminently fitted to discharge the 
duties of this office with credit to hmself and honor to this Nation. 

He has taken an active and prominent part in the upbuilding 
of this State, and has at all times contributed freely of his time, 
money and talents to the support of the Republican Party. 

We request for him such consideration as his ability, integrity 
and party loyalty demand. 

Very respectfully, 

F. A. Briggs, 

Fred Falley, 

Sec. of State. 
N. B. Hannum, 

State Auditor. 

G. E. Nichols, 
State Treasurer. 

F. B. Fancher, 

Commissioner of Insurance. 
• Absent from Capital, G. H. P. 

Comr. of Agriculture and Labor. 

Geo. H. Phelps, 
Private Sec'y. to Gov. 

Received of Honorable J. A. Johnson, Mayor of Fargo, the 
foUowing books for Fargo Public Library; viz., one thousand, 
three hundred and ninety-nine bound books, seven hundred 
g,qd sixfy-nine unbound books and pamphlets, twenty-nine vol- 

240 J. A. JOHNSON 

umes (unbound), Railway Age and Railway Gazette; one map 
of the United States, one map of South Africa, the same having 
been procured by Mr. Johnson without cosj to the Library Board 
or to the City of Fargo. 

Thomas Baker, Jr., 
President Library Board. 
Attest : 

Ella K. Smith, Secretary. 

To meet the Right Honorable the Lord Mayor of London 

and the President of the Association of Municipal Corporations 

Mr. Alderman and Sheriff Walter Vaughan Morgan 

and Mr. Sheriff Joseph Lawrence 

request the honour of the company of 

Mr. J. A. Johnson and Lady 

at a Conversazione 

at the Grafton Galleries, Grafton Street, Bond Street, W. 

on Saturday 23rd. March, 1901 from 8 to 10 p. m. 

Please reply to 

Mr. Undersheriff J. D. Langton or to Mr. Undersheriff T. H. 

2 Paper Buildings, E. C. 

8 Lincoln Inn Fields, W. C. 

Pan American Exposition 

Buffalo, N. Y., May ist to November, 1901 

Pass Hon. J. A. Johnson 

from August 2 to August 31, 1901. 

J. N. ScATCHUD Wm. J. Buchanan, 

Chairman Executive Committee Director General 


The President and Board of Directors 
of the 
Pan-American Exposition 
present their compliments, 
and request the honor of your presence 
on the occasion of the 
Dedication of the Exposition, 
in the City of Buffalo, 
on Monday, the twentieth of May 
nineteen hundred and one. 
To His Honor the Mayor of Fargo. 

A Testimonial in Recognition of Faithful and Efficient 


The following resolutions were presented by Alderman P. 
H. Cummings and unanimously adopted at a meeting of Fargo 
City Council, held April 3, 1899. 

"Whereas, the present Mayor of Fargo, Hon. J. A. Johnson, 
has devoted a great deal of time and expended large sums of 
money, not required of him, in the interests of the City, in secur- 
ing the holding of the late Inter state Grain Growers' and many 
other conventions and public assemblies in our City, for all of 
which he has neither asked nor received any compensation, there- 
fore be it 

Resolved by the City Council of the City of Fargo, North 
Dakota, that the thanks of this Council and the Citizens of Fargo 
are hereby extended to Mayor Johnson for the faithful and effi- 
cient work he has done in the interests of the City. Be it further 
resolved, that an engrossed copy of these Resolutions, certified by 
the City Auditor, be presented to Mayor J. A. Johnson. 

City Council. 

First Ward — 

L. W. Schruth, 
A. J. Craig. 

242 J. A. JOHNSON 

Second Ward — 


JxiSEPH Ames. 

Third Ward — 

Arthur G. Lewis, 
Newton Stanford. 

Fourth Ward — 

Sylvester J. Hill, 
S. B. Clary. 

Fifth Ward — 
Alex Stern, 
Wm. D. Allen. 

Sixth Ward — 

Geo. Hancock, 
Thorwald O STB ye. 

I, James M. Rowe, City Auditor of the said City of Fargo, 
hereby certify that the above is a true and complete copy of certain 
resolutions adopted by the City Council of the City of Fargo and 
the same remain on file and of record in my office. 

Witness my hand and the seal of the City of Fargo, this eighth 
day of April, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred 
and ninety-nine. 

J. M. Rowe, City Auditor. 



Municipal League of North Dakota 

The following resolution was adopted by the Municipal League 
of North Dakota at its special meeting held at Valley City, June 
4, 5. and 6, 1907: 

Be it resolved, that this league sincerely regrets the inability 
of its president. Mayor J. A. Johnson of Fargo, to attend and 
preside at this meeting, and it extends to him its deepest sympathy 
in his present illness, trusting that he will soon recover and resume 
his duties among us. 

It is also further resolved, that the league appreciates the 
interest and active work manifested by its president in the league 
and its welfare, and we hope that he shall long remain as its 
presiding officer. 

Adopted by unanimous vote. 

Marine Mills Mascot 
June 17, 1907. 

John Augustus Johnson of Fargo, who died Friday, June 
fourteenth, was laid to rest in Oakland Cemetery by the side of 
his son. 

The funeral train arrived at 10:30 via the "Soo" and was 
met by all the old friends of his boyhood and young manhood 
who are residents of Marine and surrounding country and many 
old friends from Stillwater, although the family wished all should 
be as quiet as possible, this was a request the deceased had made 
years ago ; stating at that time, that although he had been in public 
life nearly all his life, at his death he hoped all would be quiet 
when he was buried. 


246 J. A. JOHNSON 

The death of "Sheriff" Johnson has cast a gloom over Fargo, 
Marine and Stillwater in fact throughout the world he is mourned 
by his many, many friends. '~" 

He left to mourn him, his Widow and five children, Alice 
Johnson Mahnken; J. Chester, an attorney in Fargo; Clarence 
F., in Seattle; Laura, at home; Lawrence E., in the Regular 
Army, and three grandchildren, Alice M., Edith M., and Charles 
H. Mahnken. 

The services at Oakland were quiet, but very impressive. 

The grave was lined throughout with flowers, placed there by 
friends' loving hands; the ground of the entire lot as well as the 
grave of the son, was entirely covered with flowers, these in remem- 
brance from his Minnesota friends. The flowers from Fargo 
and North Dakota, were the most beautiful ever seen, and of 
such immense quantities it took some time to place them. During 
the service, American Beauty Roses were softly dropped upon the 
casket, until it was hidden from view, the entire grave was filled 
with flowers, after the casket was lowered, no dirt being used at 
all, this was at the request of loving friends in Fargo. 

The pall-bearers were chosen from the Masonic Lodge in 
Stillwater, were Knights Templar, and all old friends of Mr. 
Johnson. It was one of the most beautiful funerals ever occurring 
in Marine. 

Commercial Club 


John Augustus Johnson 

Nearing the limit of man's allotted threescore and ten years, 
has entered into that rest earned by an active life of strong 

The Commercial Club of Fargo, an embodiment of the city's 
business life, in recognition of his official position, and in memory 
of his life, character, and achievements, extends to his family 
profound sympathy, to those officially connected with him in our 


city's administrative affairs deep regrets, and to those who shared 
his friendship, which includes our entire citizenship, sincere com- 
miseration over the loss sustained by each and all. 

In his family life loving and tender, in his official capacity ear- 
nest, sincere and untiring; in his intercourse with his fellows, 
kindly, sympathetic and cordial; he exemplified a devotion, a 
constancy and a charity which made his life a model in those 
respects. His character, life and work have become a part of 
our own, and will live after we have passed from life's stage. 
"So earth has gained by one man the more. 
And the gain of earth must be heaven's gain too ; 
And the whole is well worth thinking o'er." 
Fargo, North Dakota. Geo. H. Phelps, 

June 15, 1907. F. Leland Watkins, 

D. W. Thomas, 


Old Settlers 

At a meeting of the Red River Valley Old Settlers' Association, 
Cass County Auxiliary, held Saturday afternoon in the Masonic 
Temple upon the death of Hon. J. A. Johnson, the following 
resolutions were unanimously adopted: 

Resolved, that we have heard with heart-felt regret of the 
demise of our dear friend and associate in the Old Settlers' Asso- 
ciation, Hon. J. A. Johnson, Mayor of Fargo, and the city's 
ever loyal citizen ; 

Resolved, that in the death of Mayor Johnson, not only the 
city, but the entire state has suffered an irreparable loss, for his 
aggressive public spirit was not confined to the city of his adoption, 
but extended over the entire commonwealth; 

Resolved, that while our dear friend will never meet with us 
again in congenial intercourse at the meetings of this association, 
yet we shall always remember him with sincere affection, and 
shall always deplore his untimely death; 

248 J. A. JOHNSON 

Be it further resolved, that the Cass County Auxiliary of the 
Old Settlers' Association, tender to the widow and the orphans, 
their sincere sympathy in this, their supreme bereavement of their 
lives, and may the good God heal their bruised hearts and give 
them that consolation that can only proceed from the Divine 
Presence ; 

And be it further resolved, that a copy of these resolutions 
be presented to the family of our deceased friend and also that a 
copy of the same be placed on file in the archives of the society. 
And that same be published in the Morning Call and Daily 

William H. White, Chairman. 
Isaac P. Clapp. 
Thomas Baker, Jr. 
Charles A. Morton. 

North Dakota Municipal League 

The following resolutions were passed by the North Dakota 
Municipal League in session at Grand Forks : 

Whereas, it has pleased Him to whom we ascribe all things 
beyond the power of man, to remove our beloved brother and chief 
executive officer, J. A. Johnson, from our midst, he having died 
at Fargo, North Dakota, June 14th, now, therefore, 

Resolved, that the Municipal League of North Dakota, 
recognizing as it does, his strong worth as a man, a citizen, and 
an officer of this league, hereby deplores his demise, and because 
he was of a kindly disposition, tender nature and ever solicitous 
for the happiness and harmony of his fellow man, we especially 
regret and mourn his loss; further 

Resolved, that we extend to his widow and family our sincere 
sympathy in this, the time of their great bereavement and beg 
them to let the fact that this state wide organization mourns with 
them, comfort them in their sorrow and misfortune. 

Resolved further, that these resolutions be spread upon the 


minutes of this meeting and that a copy of them be sent by the 
secretary to the family of our deceased president. 
The following resolution was then adopted: 
Resolved, that in honor of the memory of our late president, 
J. A. Johnson, this meeting do now adjourn until 2 o'clock this 

H. Amerland, 
W. C. Resser, 
A. G. Lewis, 

Lee Combs, 


Lodges and Associations 

Ever}' lodge and organization of which Mr. Johnson was a 
member, and many to which he was not affiliated, have passed 
resolutions and presented copies to the family who are most 
grateful and fully appreciate the sympathy expressed. Those 
of the Commercial Club, the Old Settlers, and Municipal League 
are here reproduced because of their beautiful wording and 

No resolutions are from the present Mayor and City Council 
of Fargo, though many have come from other Mayors and Council. 
Mr. Johnson was a member of the Honorable City Council for 
nearly twelve years at different times, elected to serve in this 
Honorable body, by the people. He died while still a member, 
as his term of office woiild not expire until April, 1908. 

According to the Charter, his temporary successor must be 
chosen from the Council, by the Council, and the present Executive 
was elected by nine votes of the members of the Honorable City 

Fargo Forum, Friday, June 14, 1907. Morning Call, Satur- 
day, June 15, 1907. 

Shortly after 8 o'clock this morning, Hon. John A. Johnson, 

250 J. A. JOHNSON 

mayor of Fargo, breathed his last after an illness of several months, 
the cause of his demise being Bright's disease. 

While the mayor had been suffering considerable for the 
past year or two, it was only a month or six weeks ago that the 
disease developed to such an extent that it gave his family and 
friends any uneasiness. About the middle of May, Mayor 
Johnson took a trip to West Baden, Ind., springs, where he 
remained for two weeks, and on returning home a marked change 
for the worse was observed. The day after his return he visited his 
office in the city hall for a few minutes, and since then he had 
been confined to the house, gradually growing weaker and 
weaker until the last great change came, and he sank to his final 
rest quietly and calmly as a child going to sleep, with his family 
and a few very close friends at his bedside. So gradual was the 
change from life to death that it was hardly discernible. 

Always Boosted Fargo 

The death of Mayor Johnson is deeply regretted by the people 
of Fargo, and all over the state. He had seen this city grow from 
a comparatively small town to its present large proportions, and 
he at all times took a lively interest in all that was going on. He 
was progressive in his ideas and no improvement was contem- 
plated that did not meet with his approbation. For the past 
year or so his health had been failing him, but his death came with 
such a suddenness as to shock all who knew him. It was known 
that he was very ill, but norte, not even his own family, knew or 
thought that the death angel was so near. It was the intention 
of the family to have taken him to Minnesota this evening, but 
for a day or two he had been sinking. On Wednesday the attend- 
ing physician told the family that his removal at this time would 
be fatal. 

In his disposition, he was always kind and pleasant, and his 
charity was only limited by his purse, for the poor always found 
in him a friend. He was an interesting conversationalist, the life 


of any society that he might choose to enter, and as a father and 
husband there were none better. In his office he was at all times 
dignified and graced the position as but few men could. He 
was a friendly man, and was pleased to have and entertain visitors. 
His home life was one which all might follow with profit, for he 
found his earthly rest there, and enjoyed being with his wife and 
family. He had been a familiar figure in the great northwest 
for nearly half a century, and in every walk of life he will be missed. 
The family of the deceased have the heartfelt sympathy of the 
people of this community. Many telegrams of condolence were 
received by his widow and children to-day. 

Funeral on Sunday 

The arrangements for the funeral have not all as yet been 
made, but it is known that the services will be held on Sunday 
afternoon from the family residence and the Fargo Commander 
of the Knights Templar will have charge. The body will be taken 
the same evening to Marine Mills, near Stillwater, Minn., for 
interment, this being the mayor's former residence. There 
was an informal meeting of council held this morning, and a 
committee consisting of Aldermen Lewis, Elliott and Amerland, 
was appointed to arrange the proper details for attending the 
services in a body. For. the present, or until after Sunday, the 
board of equalization will simply meet according to law, but will 
not attend to any business. 

Morning Call, June 16, 1907. 
Mr. Johnson traveled extensively in Central and South America 
and also in Sweden, Norway, Denmark, and other European 
countries. In 1897 he was tendered the position of consul to 
Guttenburg, Sweden, and declined which was a surprise to many 
of his friends there being over fifty applicants for the position, 
while Mr. Johnson had not filed any papers or made any applica- 
tion for it. Some of the twin city papers cartooned him as the 

252 J. A. JOHNSON 

"Fargo freak," it being an unheard of thing for a North Dakotan 
to refuse a federal appointment, more especially one of so much 
importance and which carried so great honors as the one he 

Mr. Johnson was a member of the various fraternal organiza- 
tions, such as the Masons, Oddfellows, United Commercial 
Travelers of America and the Zodiac, and held important official 
positions in all of them. In Masonry he was a Knight Templar 
and a member of the Mystic Shrine and was an officer of the 
Grand Masonic Lodge of Minnesota for a number of years. He 
was also deputy grand master of the Grand Lodge of Oddfellows 
for Minnesota for one term and represented his council in the 
Grand Council of Commercial Travelers of America. 

While it was generally known that the mayor was not in good 
health, his death came as a surprise to nearly all, as the seriousness 
of his illness was not realized till near the last. A resident of 
Fargo more than a quarter of a century and much of that time 
closely identified with the official life of the city, Mayor Johnson 
was widely known and highly respected and esteemed among a 
large circle of friends. He always had in view the building up 
of the city along progressive lines and took a leading part in that 
work, never missing an opportunity to direct the attention of 
outsiders to the advantages of Fargo as the metropolis of the 
state, proud of her resources, prouder still of her people, and 
always loyal to her best interests as he saw them. 

Mayor Johnson possessed a fine personality and easily made 
and kept friends. Possessing a wide experience and knowledge 
of men and events, he was always pleasing in conversation and 
never failed to attract attention wherever he happened to be. No 
person, however humble, could appeal to him without receiving 
sympathetic consideration and anything the mayor could do for 
him was done, even if it meant personal sacrifice. In his official 
capacity he was ever alert and quick in coming to a decision. He 
presided over the council meetings with dignity and insisted upon 


speedy but careful dispatch of business. Upon matters of policy 
he announced his decisions with earnestness and conciseness 
that commanded respect. 

He vnll be missed as mayor and as a kindly, genial, whole- 
hearted and friendly man. He will be missed in the home, and 
the bereaved family has the sympathy of all. A believer in the 
strenuous life, he died in harness, only gi\ing up when the struggle 
was no longer possible, and thoughtful of the city's interests to the 

In 1900 when the matter of establishing the public library 
was being discussed quite generally, Mayor Johnson conceived a 
novel and what proved to be a very successful plan to secure 
a large number of valuable books with but a nominal expense. 
His plan was to write to a couple of thousand or more of the leading 
statesmen, educators, professional men and business men all over 
the United States, and request that they donate one or more 
books to the Fargo public library, placing their autographs in the 
fly leaf of the books contributed. Mayor Johnson carried the 
plan into execution and at a nominal expense there was secured 
for the Fargo public library upwards of 2500 books and pamphlets 
of great value, some of them the finest books in the library'. Some 
of the most prominent citizens of the republic contributed valuable 
books and expressed their pleasure at the opportunity to make 
the contributions. With a large number of local citizens contri- 
buting books and funds the public library was started and the 
Masons, of which body Mayor Johnson was a member, provided 
headquarters in the temple till the Carnegie library building at 
the corner of Robert street and Second avenue north was com- 

Mayor Johnson was one of the initial movers in the organiza- 
tion of the Tri-State Grain and Stock Growers' Association, the 
largest organization of farmers meeting in annual convention in 
the world and since the organization until his health failed he 
with President Worst of the Agricultural College had more to do 

254 J. A. JOHNSON 

with continuing the organization and making the conventions 
great successes than any other person. 

Before the organization of the Commercial Club and during 
his former terms, Mayor Johnson met with such remarkable 
success in the securing of conventions for Fargo and took such 
personal interest in making the gatherings a credit to the city that 
he was termed the convention mayor. He was always called upon 
to assist in a leading role whenever anything of prime importance 
requiring a hustler and a man of great influence was under con- 
sideration. When the Commercial Club was organized, a deter- 
mined effort was made to secure the then former mayor for 
secretary on account of his well-known ability as a hustler for 
Fargo, and he was offered much better inducements than the 
club felt it could afford to offer to any other man, but he felt 
that the work would be too strenuous for him, owing to his poor 

When Mayor Johnson became a candidate for re-election 
in the spring of 1906, after having been in private life for four 
years, there was little opposition to his candidacy and his majority 
was overwhelming. While his failing health during his last term 
as mayor precluded his being as active as during former terms, 
he nevertheless, kept his mind upon the administration of the 
city's affairs and devoted nearly all of his time to the government 
of the city, keeping close watch over every department and not 
failing to impress his personality upon every department of 
government. One of his last official acts was to insist that there 
must be no baseball played within the city limits on Decoration 
day, the day set aside for honoring the dead of the war of the 
rebellion. A veteran of the war himself, he always had a warm 
place in his heart for the old soldiers and insisted upon Memorial 
day being properly observed, so far as he as mayor was able to 
control its observation in the city. 

In his young years, a railroad man, and during the war a 
locomotive engineer in the service of the U. S. government. Mayor 


Johnson appreciated the railroad boys and they always had in 
him a warm friend and sympathizer in their difficulties. He was 
also popular with the boys of the fire department, and the police, 
and he always insisted upon the obsenance of his regulations as 

At an informal meeting of the citv council vesterdav morning. 
Aldermen Lewis, Elliott and .-Vmerland were appointed to arrange 
for the council's attending the services in a bodv and regardins: 
floral tributes, etc. 

A meeting of the Commercial Club was held last evening. Vice 
President Sweet presiding, and a committee, consisting of Messrs. 
W. D. Sweet, C. H. .\nheier, G. H. Phelps, W. W. Smith and I. 
P. Clapp, was appointed to arrange for securing a floral tribute 
and other matters, and Messrs. Phelps, Thomas and F. L. Watkins 
were appointed to draft appropriate resolutions. Another meeting 
will be held this evening. 

A meeting of the G. A. R. has been called for this evening to 
take action in connection with the death of the mayor. 

A meeting of the I. O. O. F. of which the mayor was a member, 
will be held to take appropriate action. 

A committee was selected yesterday by the Lutheran Free 
chiirch conference, in session in Oak Gv^ve, to prepare resolutions 
touching the death of the mayor. 

Funeral senices for the late Mayor J. A. Johnson will be held 
at the residence, 1325 Third avenue south, this afternoon at 4 
o'clock, and will be private. The body will lie in state at the 
residence from noon till 3 p. m., during which time the pubUc 
will have an opportimit}' to \-iew the remains. 

The services will be under the auspices of Auvergne Com- 
mander}-, Knights Templar, and the ritual of that body will be 
used. After the funeral this evening the body vsiU be conveved to 
the G. X. and taken to Marine Mills, Minn., accompanied by 
members of the family and friends. At St. Paul, Monday morn- 
ing, the funeral part)' will be joined by the youngest son of the 


deceased, Lawrence E. Johnson, and Alice Johnson, when the 
sad journey will be continued to the final resting place. Funeral 
services will be held at Marine Mills, where the body will be 
interred near those of his father and mother. 

Dr. R. A. Beard of the First Congregational church will have 
charge of the religious services at the residence this afternoon, 
and Dr. S. J. Hill will have charge of the Knights Templar ser- 
vices, assisted by other members of the commandery. The active 
pallbearers will be knights of the commandery. The honorary 
pallbearers will be James Kennedy, Hon. B. F. Spalding, S. G. 
Roberts, James Ecker, W. C. Resser, J. J. Jordan, Peter Elliott 
and E. E. Cole. 

The funeral arrangements by the Knights Templar were 
concluded last evening. Messrs. Thos. Hall, E. C. Manning, 
Archie Craig, S. G. Wright, A. O. Rupert and Dr. G. A. Carpenter 
were selected as active pall-bearers. Messrs. E. G. Guthrie and 
G. C. Grafton were appointed to watch at the residence last night. 
The pallbearers will watch in details from 12 m. to 4 p. m. to-day. 
All will be dressed in the full uniform of the Knights Templar 
with draped sword hilts. 

The members of the Commercial Club will meet at the club 
rooms this afternoon at 3 o'clock for the purpose of attending in 
a body the funeral of the late Mayor Johnson at the residence, 
which takes place at 4 o'clock. 

Fargo Forum, June 17, 1907. 

Solemn sounds the funeral chime, 
Notes of our departing time 
As we journey here below. 
Pilgrims through a world of woe. 
Mortals now attend — a tear 
For mortality is here. 
See how bright the trophies wave 
• ,' O'er the portals of the grave. 


By This Sign Thou Shalt Conquer. 

What means to us the rose-like cross ? 
That he who lives for self, must suflfer loss, 
But he who builds the brotherhood of man 
Shall rise within the Temple's wondrous plan. 

Most solemn and impressive were the services held over the 
remains of the late Mayor J. A. Johnson, Sunday afternoon at 
the beautiful family residence on Third avenue south. There 
was a large attendance of friends and lodge members, the latter 
with the exception of the Knights Templar, attending individually 
rather than as a body. 

Each lodge and association of which the deceased was a mem- 
ber was represented by a committee, as it had been the request of 
the family that the funeral be conducted with as little display as 
possible. The old settlers were represented by James Holes, 
J. W. Morrow, W. R. Edwards, G. J. Keeney, W. H. WTiite, 
Judge H. F. Miller, Col. C. A. Morton, M. Holcomb, Maj. C. 
W. Darling, J. D. Benton, Samuel Mathews and Col. W. F. Ball. 

There was a very large display of floral offerings, sent by lov- 
ing friends, the casket was hidden from view by them. 

During the services Mrs. E. R. Wright rendered in a beautiful 
manner three solos. The religious services were conducted by 
Rev. Dr. R. A. Beard of the First Congregational church, and he 
made an address that was both touching and most timely. Most 
feelingly did he speak of the excellent life of the deceased ; of his 
thoughtfulness for the comfort of others, and how he had done 
much to build up the city, and that such men were a credit to any 
community in which they might have lived. It was an address 
that was listened to with the closest attention, for it was sympa- 
thetic and masterly. 

After the religious services were concluded, the Knights 
Templar took charge of the funeral and the beautiful and impres- 
sive ritualistic ceremonies of the order were conducted by Dr. 

258 J. A. JOHNSON 

S. J. Hill, Colonel Gearey and other officers of the commandery. 
While the casket was being removed from the house, the temple 
band rendered in a most beautiful manner the hymn. Nearer 
My God to Thee, while those about the house and grounds stood 
with uncovered heads as the casket was born by the Sir Knights 
to the hearse. The procession to the Great Northern depot 
was formed in the following order: 

Temple band. 

Auvergne Commandery. 

Honorary pall bearers in carriages. 

The funeral car and active bearers. 

Members of the family in carriages. 

Chief, captain and sergeant of police. 

Fargo police force. 

Carriages and citizens on foot. 

At the depot the Sir Knights drew up in open order and the 
hearse passed through the line and the casket was removed and 
placed in the rough box and at 10 140 p. m. last night the funeral 
party started for Marine Mills, Minn., where this afternoon the 
remains will be interred near the graves of the parents he loved 
so well. 

While the body lay in state at the family residence Sunday 
afternoon, hundreds called at the house to take a farewell look at 
the features of him whom the city had honored so many times 
with positions of trust, and there were many tears shed by old 
friends, who had long been associated with the deceased. 

Morning Call, June 18, 1907. 

The body of the late Mayor J. A. Johnson, five times elected 
chief executive of the city, was conveyed to the Great Northern 
depot, Sunday afternoon shortly before 6 o'clock under the 
auspices of the Knights Templar, concluding the final rites in 
connection with his death. 

The funeral pageant was one of the most impressive ever seen 


in the city. Led by the Temple band, then came the Knights 
of Auvergne Commander}- in full uniform, the honorary pallbear- 
ers in carriages. The funeral car came next and the active pall- 
bearers, followed by members of the family in carriages. Then 
came the police force, headed by the chief, captain and sergeant, 
after which came citizens in carriages and on foot. On arrival 
at the depot, the Knights Templar drew up in Hne and the casket 
was removed and prepared for shipment and at 10:40 Sunday 
evening, the funeral party boarded the train en route to Marine 
Mills, Minn., where fimal interment was made yesterday under 
the auspices of the Knights Templar of that city. 

The body lay in state Sunday from noon to 3 p. m., and hun- 
dreds of people, old friends and acquaintances, called to take a 
last look at the former mayor, so well known and respected in 
the citv and over the state. 

The funeral services at the residence at 4 o'clock, Sunday 
afternoon, were private, only the immediate members of the 
family and representative delegations from the Cass County Old 
Settler's Association, the Commercial Club, the U. C. T. and 
other organizations being present. There were numerous floral 
displays. Mrs. E. R. Wright rendered very nicely several fine 
vocal selections and Dr. R. A. Beard of the First Congregational 
church made a brief but ver\^ impressive address. The Knights 
Templar took charge after the religious services and Dr. S. J. 
Hill, Col. E. C. Gearey and other ofiicers of the Commandery 
participated in the ceremonies. 

Entertainment Committee: The Loyal American picnic for 
Sunday June 16, has been postponed on account of the late Mayor 
Johnson and the date will be announced later. 

B. L. Kimball, Sec: All Elks notified to attend the funeral 
services of Bro. J. A. Johnson to be held at his residence at 4 
p. M. Sunday afternoon. 

G. W. Wasem, E. C. : Members of Auvergne commandery. 
Knights Templar, should attend the meeting to be held this 

26o J. A. JOHNSON 

evening at the Masonic temple to complete the arrangements 
for attending the funeral of our departed brother, Sir J. A. Johnson. 
The hour for the meeting is 8 sharp. " 

Thomas Hall, W. M. : All Blue Lodge Masons who cannot 
participate in the Knight Templar services at the funeral of our 
late Brother J. A. Johnson, are requested to meet in the Masonic 
temple at 3 o'clock Sunday afternoon and attend the services as 
a Masonic citizen body. 

F. J. Thompson, Recorder: All Knights Templar are re- 
quested to meet at Masonic temple at 3 o'clock Sunday afternoon 
to take part in the Knight Templar services over the remains of 
our late Sir Knight John A. Johnson. The services will be held 
at the house promptly at 4 o'clock under the direction of Past 
Eminent Commander Sylvester J. Hill. The commandery will 
leave the temple promptly at 3 130 o'clock. 

R. S. Lewis: The members of the Commercial Club are 
requested to meet at the club rooms at 3 o'clock this afternoon for 
the purpose of attending in a body the funeral of the late Mayor 
Johnson, which will take place at the residence at 4 o'clock. 

Chas. A. Wilson, Sec. : Out of respect to our late mayor, 
Hon. J. A. Johnson, whose funeral will occur on Sunday, the 
i6th inst., the band concert sheduled for that date on the fair 
grounds, will be postponed for one week. 

City Official : It is hoped that all of the city officials and mem- 
bers of council will meet at the city hall to-morrow afternoon in 
time to attend in a body the funeral of Mayor Johnson. 

S. W. Townsend, Commander: There will be a meeting of 
Fargo post of the G. A. R. this evening at 8 o'clock and every 
member should be in attendance to arrange to attend the funeral 
of the late Mayor Johnson. 

Yesterday was flag day and a number of business houses and 
private residences displayed the national colors. In several 
instances, particularly at the Case Threshing Machine Co., the 
public library, the Fargo Foundry Co., the Masonic temple, the 


Huber Manufacturing Co., all had their flags at half mast, in 
honor of the dead. A large number of telegrams were received 
during the day from different cities and from state officials, ex- 
tending their sympathy to the family of the deceased. 

At a meeting of Shiloh lodge, Masonic, held last night the fact 
of the death of Mayor Johnson was announced and several of 
the members spoke most feelingly in his memory. 

As soon as the management of the Fargo Athletics heard the 
funeral of the late Mayor Johnson was to be held to-morrow 
afternoon, Fergus Falls was wired not to come for the baseball 
game to-morrow afternoon, and there will be no contest of any 
nature at the park. A number of fans will also attend the funeral 

Yesterday afternoon during the services of the Salvation Army, 
Capt. A. D. Jackson spoke most feelingly of Mayor Johnson, who 
he said had done much for the army, assisting the officers in many 
ways, and he spoke of the kindness of his heart, and his willingness 
at all times to assist any one in distress. 

Geo. E. Duis, Mayor of Grand Forks to the City of Fargo: 
The officials and citizens of Grand Forks extend to your council 
and citizens our heartfelt sympathy in the loss of your honorable 

M. H. Jewell, Editor Bismarck Tribune, in referring to the 
death of Mayor J. A. Johnson, the Bismarck Tribune expresses 
its respect and esteem for the late executive of Fargo in the follow- 
ing editorial note: 

The death of Mayor Johnson of Fargo removes a well known 
citizen of the state and a picturesque official, whose zeal and per- 
severance did much to keep Fargo before the world. He had 
much interest in his work as mayor, which office he held for a num- 
ber of years. He did much to bring conventions and public 
meetings to Fargo and in that way promoted the business wel- 
fare of that city and contributed to its growth. While he had 
been a sufferer for years, the fact that he was so critically ill 

262 J. A. JOHNSON 

was not known to many of his friends and acquaintances through- 
out the state, who will unite in expressing regret at his death. 

H. C. Plumley, Editor Fargo Forum: J. A. Johnson, five 
times elected mayor of Fargo, died at his residence early Friday 
morning. The deceased was a pioneer resident of the city and 
no man in Fargo's official life was ever a more consistent worker 
for its upbuilding. He was one of the best single handed boosters 
that ever held an office in Fargo. His work was along conserva- 
tive lines and for those things which would have a tendency to 
advertise Fargo widely and bring people to the city. Prior to the 
organization of the Fargo Commercial club his activities along 
these lines were marked and the name of Fargo was always kept 
to the front. He was a genial, kindly man, who had been a 
striking figure in Fargo's municipal development from the earliest 
pioneer days to the present time. He died in the harness, as 
mayor of the city he loved so well. 

J. J. Jordan, Editor Morning Call: In the death of Mayor 
J. A. Johnson, the people of this city and state will feel that they 
have lost a personal friend. An old pioneer of the state, five times 
mayor of the city and prominent in business and municipal 
afi'airs, it may well be said he was without a personal enemy. 
Kind hearted almost to a fault, self-sacrificing to a never-ending 
degree, he was all that goes to make the good citizen, the devoted 
husband, the doting father, the true friend. His heart went out 
to every worthy cause, and his voice and acts were ever in behalf 
of the right. As a promoter of the upbuilding of Fargo he stood 
without a peer — day or night, rain or shine, his time and energy 
were ever at the command of the city. We shall all sorely miss 
him as a friend, a neighbor and a citizen. 

It is doubtful, very doubtful, if the city of Fargo ever had a 
mayor who will devote the time and take the interest in affairs 
municipal that the lamented Mayor Johnson did. 

No finer tribute could have been paid to the late Mayor John- 
son than that which was shown by the presence at his funeral 


of a large number of the laboring classes. All that has been said 
of his being popular with this class is thus amply verified. The 
man who has the friendship of the "tin-pail brigade" has some- 
thing to be proud of. 

Geo. Holgate : Our city papers of Monday giWng an account 
of the funeral services of our late mayor, J. A. Johnson, gave a 
wrong impression both to the family of our late mayor and the 
citizens of the city, wherein they state that the procession was 
headed by the Temple band. This looks to any one not ac- 
quainted with the facts that we were either hirelings or that we 
were under obligations to the Knights Templar to turn out with 
them. This was not the Temple band, but was the band boys 
of the city, and we turned out to the funeral in a body to show 
our respect for our late mayor, who was always a warm friend 
of ours, and was always willing to help a city band both financially 
and every other way possible, and the family has the sympathy 
of the band boys in the loss of husband and father. 


This book is under no circumstances to be 
taken from the Building 



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