An Overland Journey from New York to San Francisco in the Summer of 1859

By Horace Greeley | Go to book overview
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III.
MORE NOTES ON KANSAS.

LEAVENWORTH, May 23, 1859.

THE convention at Osawatamie was of course very slow in assembling, and I think not more than half the organized counties were represented at all. Hardly any were present from the southern counties, for whose benefit that place of meeting had been selected. Those who did come got there by swimming many dangerous creeks; but from most localities attendance was a physical impossibility. Ferry--boats are scarce in Kansas, bridges, of course, nearly unknown; and the water runs off these rolling prairies so rapidly that a stream which a three-year old child might ford at night will be running water enough to float a steamboat before morning. Obviously, there can be no ferries maintained on such; and, until bridges can be erected, those whose way lies across them have no further alternative when they are in flood than either to swim or wait. But to swim an angry, turbid, rushing, torrent, perhaps a dozen rods across, and running drift-wood in a perfectly reckless manner, is a job reqniring nerve and skill; so the greater number have simply to stay at home or camp on the bank, and wait until the flood runs out, which it usually will in twelve to thirty-six hours, according to the size of the stream, unless the rain or thaw continues. But it had rained nearly half the time for a week prior and

-35-

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