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There are few or no grasses that are peculiar to Missouri; and fortunately so, for there is no permanent advantage in being adapted to peculiar crops any more than in being a peculiar people. The great blessings of life are universal and widespread. It results that all the valuable members of this great and beneficial family of plants are adapted to and capable of being introduced and cultivated in this state. Flint, in his standard work on grasses, says: "Whoever has blue grass has the basis of all agricultural prosperity, and that man, if he have not the finest horses, cattle and sheep, has no one to blame but himself. Others, in other circumstances, may do well. He can hardly avoid doing well if he will try."
Blue grass is indigenous in Missouri. When the timber is removed it springs up spontaneously on the land, and, when the prairie is reclaimed, it soon takes possession and supersedes all other grasses. This famous grass is the foundation on which the mighty stock industry of Kentucky* has been built, and has given a world-renowned reputation to its fine blood horses, cattle and sheep. The combing-wool sheep and the fine mutton breeds have obtained a national reputation for wool and mutton in that state, and their usefulness has but begun. What blue grass has done for Kentucky, it is now doing for Missouri. An acre of this grass is worth an acre of corn. *
Recent experience has proved that alfalfa or lucerne, that most fattening of all grasses, grows luxuriantly in this region, yielding each year three or four good crops of hay.
THE "GRASSHOPPER" IN MISSOURI.
As early as 1867, our state board of agriculture reported destruction by grasshoppers (the Rocky Mountain locust,) in the western part of the state the previous fall; and also, that there had been visitations more or less injurious in former years. But their greatest and most grievous invasion occurred in the fall of 1874, when 33 counties of western Missouri suffered from their ruthless ravages. Our state entomologist, Prof. C. V. Riley, made such a thorough, diligent and masterful study of their origin and habits, and the causes, methods and consequences of their migrations, that he became the standard authority on grasshoppers all over the civilized world. In 1876 the government appointed a special commission of entomologists to investigate the character and movements of these pests, and report for the benefit of the whole infested region, which comprised the country west of St. Paul, Minnesota, Jefferson City, Missouri, and Galveston, Texas, ranging from the Gulf of Mexico on the south, to
* "Kentucky blue grass," (so-called), is not native to that state: it is the same as the English spear grass, the New England June grass, or meadow gross—or, in botanical language, poa pratensit.
Lake Winnipeg and Manitoba in the British possessions northward, and as far west as the headquarters of the Columbia river. The most prominent scientists on this commission were our own Prof. Riley, and Prof. Samuel Aughey, of the state university of Nebraska.
The results of this United States commission were little if anything more than a tedious elaboration of what Prof. Riley had presented in three annual reports as state entomologist of Missouri. No new points of any special importance were discovered concerning them. The development of this subject, therefore, belongs to the history of what Missouri has done for science, for agriculture and for the public weal. In his seventh annual report to our state board of agriculture, 1875, Prof. Riley says:
"There is some difference of opinion as to the precise natural habitat and breeding places of these insects, but the facts all indicate that it is by nature a denizen of high altitudes, breeding in the valleys, parks and plateaus of the Rocky Mountain region of Colorado, and especially of Montana, Wyoming, and British America. Prof. Cyrus Thomas, who has had an excellent opportunity of studying it, through his connection with Hayden's geological survey of the territories, reports it as occurring from Texas to British America, and from the Mississippi westward to the Sierra Nevada range. But in all this vast extent of country, and especially in the more southern latitudes, there is every reason to believe that it breeds only on the higher mountain elevations, and where the atmosphere is very dry and attenuated, and the soil, seldom,.if ever, gets soaked with moisture. Prof. Thomas found it most numerous in all stages of growth, along the higher valleys and canyons of Colorado, tracing it up above the perennial snows, where the insects must have hatched, as it was found in the adolescent stage. In crossing the mountains in Colorado, it often gets chilled in passing snows, and thus perishes in immense numbers, where bears delight to feast upon it. My own belief is that the insect is at home in the higher altitudes of Utah, Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming,, Montana, northwest Dakota, and British America. It breeds in all this region, but particularly on the vast hot and dry plains and plateaus of the last named territories, and on the plains west of the mountains; its range being bounded, perhaps, on the east by that of the buffalo grass.
"Mr. Wm. N. Byers, of Denver, Colorado, shows that they hatch in immense quantities in the valleys of the three forks of the Missouri river and along the Yellowstone, and how they move on from there, when fledged, in a southeast direction, at about ten miles a day. The swarms of 1867 were traced, as he states, from their hatching grounds in west Dakota, and Montana, along the east flank of the Picky Mountains, in the valleys and plains of the Black Hills, and between them and the main Rocky Mountain range. It all this immense stretch of country, as is well known, there are immense tracts of barren, almost desert land, while other tracts for hundreds of miles bear only a scanty vegetation, the short buffalo grass of the more fertile prairies giving way now to a more luxuriant vegetation along the water courses, now to the sage bush and a few cacti. Another physical peculiarity is found in the fact that while the spring on these immense plains often opens as early, even away up into British America, as it does with us in the latitude of St. Louis, yet the vegetation is often dried and actually burned out before the first of July, so that not a green thing is to be found. Our Rocky Mountain locust, therefore, hatching out in untold myriads in the hot sandy plains, five or six thousand feet above the level of the sea, will often perish in immense numbers if the scant vegetation of its native home dries up before it acquires wings; but if the season is propitious, and the insect becomes fledged before its food supplies is exhausted, the newly acquired wings prove its salvation. It may also become periodically so prodigiously multiplied in its native breeding place, that, even in favorable seasons, everything green is devoured by the time it becomes winged.
"In either case, prompted by that most exigent law of hunger—spurred on for very life—it rises in immense clouds in the air to seek for fresh pastures where it may stay its ravenous appetite. Borne along by prevailing winds that sweep over these immense treeless plains from the northwest, often at the rate of fifty or sixty miles an hour, the darkening locust clouds are soon carried into the more moist and fertile country to the southeast, where, with sharpened appetites, they fall upon the crops like a plague and a blight.
"Many of the more feeble or of the more recently fledged perish, no doubt, on he way, but the main army succeeds, with favorable wind, in bridging over the parched country which offers no nourishment. The hotter and dryer the season, and the greater the extent of the drouth, the earlier will they be prompted to migrate, and the farther will they push on to the east and south.
"The comparatively sudden change from the attenuated and dry atmosphere of five to eight thousand feet or more above the sea level, to the more humid and dense atmosphere of one thousand feet below that level, does not agree with them. The first generation hatched in. this low country is unhealthy, and the few that attain maturity do not breed, but become intestate and go'to the dogs. At least such is the case in our own state and the whole of the Mississippi valley proper. As we go west or northwest and approach nearer and nearer the insect's native home, the power to propagate itself and become localized, becomes, of course, greater and greater, until at last we reach the country where it is found perpetually. Thus in the western parts of Kansas and Nebraska the progeny from the mountain swarms may multiply to the second or even third generation, and wing their way in more local and feeble bevies to the country east and south. Yet eventually they vanish from off the face of the earth, unless fortunate enough to be carried back by favorable winds to the high and dry country where they flourish.
"That they often instinctively seek to return to their native haunts is proven by the fact that they are often seen flying early in the season in a northwesterly direction. As a rule, however, the wind which saved the first comers from starvation by bearing them away from their native home, keeps them and their issue to the east and south, and thus, in the end proves their destruction. For in the Mississippi valley they are doomed, sooner or later. There is nothing more certain than that the insect is not autochthonous in west Missouri, Kansas, Nebraska, Iowa, or even Minnesota, and that when forced to migrate from its native home, from the causes already mentioned, it no longer thrives in this country."
February 23, 1877, our state legislature passed a law providing for the payment of a bounty of one dollar per bushel in March, fifty cents per bushel in April, and twenty-five cents per bushel in May, for grasshoppers; and five dollars per bushel for their eggs at any time. Nebraska did still better, by making every road supervisor in the state a grasshopper policeman, and giving him authority to call out every man from sixteen to sixty years old, to spend two days killing young grasshoppers from the time they begin to hatch in the spring.
All the grasshopper states now have some sort of protective laws; and if another invasion occurs, by concerted and organized effort the amount of damage suffered can be reduced to a small per cent as compared with our last " plague of the locusts."
PART III.—NAVIGATION AND COMMERCE.
NAVIGATION—ANCIENT AND MODERN.
It is not certainly known just what modes of navigation were used by the prehistoric mound-builders, although we have some relics of their time, or possibly of a still earlier race, which are deemed to show that they made wooden dug-outs or troughs, by burning them into a sort of boat-like shape and condition. And it is supposed that, prior to this they lashed together logs or fragments of drift-wood, and made rude rafts upon which they could cross rivers or float down, but of course could not return with them. Some remains have been found in northwestern Iowa" which are supposed to prove that men used wooden dug-out boats during the age when Missouri, Iowa, Kansas and Nebraska were the bottom of a vast inland sea or lake, into which the Missouri and Platte rivers emptied their muddy waters and deposited what Prof. Swallow calls the "bluff formation" over these states; and Prof. Whitney found in California undisputable proof of man's existence there a whole geological age prior to the period when the great fresh water Missouri sea existed, (see note to chart, on page 67); hence the fact that raft and dugout navigation was in use among the islands and shallows of this immense mud-lake or inland sea, seems not improbable.
However, the modern Indians, before the white man appeared in these western wilds, had the art of making light and elegant canoes of birch bark, and could manage them in the water with wonderful skill. They made long journeys in them, both up and down stream; and when they wanted to go from one stream to another these canoes were so light that two men could carry one on their shoulders and march twenty or twentyfive miles a day with it if necessary. But they were too light and frail for the freighting service of the white-man's commerce.
* Reported to the American Association for the Advancement of Science, at its St. Louis meeting, in August, 1878, by W. J. McGee, geologist, of Farley, Iowa.
The European explorers of this new world utilized the Indian canoes as far as practicable, often making considerable voyages in them; sometimes two were lashed together by means of coupling poles laid across on top of them, thus making a boat with two hulls. This rig could not be upset, and was easy to tow or paddle, besides making a sort of overdeck on which to carry baggage. But the thin, frail material was too easily punctured to be safe, and boats made of plank were always in demand. At first the boats were built in the "scow" fashion, with full width flat bottom and full width sled-runner bow. But they soon learned that in order to make any headway going up stream they must adopt the keel bottom and water-cutter prow style; and for more than a hundred years the traffic of all our navigable western rivers was carried on mainly by means of what were called keel-boats. The manner of propelling them up stream we have described elsewhere.
THE LEWIS AND CLARKE EXPEDITION.
The Missouri river was first opened to commerce and geography by Lewis and Clarke, who were commissioned by President Jefferson, in 1803, to explore it. They left St. Louis May 14, 1804. The outfit consisted of twenty-six men; one keel-boat fifty-five feet long, drawing three feet of water, and provided with one large square sail and twenty-two oars. Also, two open boats, one of six, and one of seven oars. May 16th they were at St. Charles; on the 25th they reached LaCharrette, a small village sixty-five miles above the mouth of the river, not far from where Marthasville, in Warren county, is now located, and which was the last white settlement up the river. June 1st they reached the mouth of the Osage river, which was so called because the Osage tribe of Indians dwelt along its course. June 26th, they reached the mouth of the Kansas river, where Kansas City now flourishes in all her glory, and remained here two days for rest and repairs. The Kansas tribe of Indians had two villages in this vicinity. July 8th they were at the mouth of the Nodawa, where now is the village of Amazonia, in Andrew county;and on the 11th they landed at the mouth of the Nemaha river. On the 14th they passed the mouth of the Nishnabotna river, and noted that it was only 300 yards distant from the Missouri at a point twelve miles above its mouth.
This was their last point within the boundaries of the present state of Missouri. St. Louis was then the territorial capital of the whole region they were to explore through to the mouth of the Columbia river on the Pacific coast. This was one of the great exploring adventures of the world's history, and its narrative is full of romantic and thrilling interest, but space forbids its presentation here. The party followed up the entire length of the Missouri river, then down the Columbia to the Pacific ocean, reaching that point November 14th, 1805. Here they wintered; and on March 23d, 1806, they started on their return trip by the same