A-Rafting on the Mississip'

By Charles Edward Russell | Go to book overview

Chapter X
GOOD BUSINESS ON THE LAMARTINE

THE Valley of the Mississippi from its earliest settlement has been more infested with reckless and bloodstained men than any other part of the country, being more congenial to their habit and offering the greatest inducements to follow their nefarious and dangerous trade.”

So concluded a competent authority of the times, writing in 1849.1 The judgment seems to have been ably sustained, having even the indorsement of the chief magistrate of the State most affected. “Horse stealing, murder, counterfeiting and robbery were common throughout Illinois, according to Governor Ford. Citizens were in the habit of banding together for protection because they could not get it from intimidated or dishonest juries.” The governor was quoted as saying that his fellow-citizens of Illinois, “with some honorable exceptions, were, in popular language, hard cases.”2 Assuredly, he was in a position to know.

Farther to the South, Murrell’s band of outlaws with others had left large red spots on frontier history, but nothing worse than the things done in and around the governor’s domain. In the region between the Missis-

1 “The Banditti of the Prairies,” p. 9. It was published in 1850.

2 M. R. Werner, “Brigham Young,” p. 175.

-163-

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