« PreviousContinue »
pense of distribution. Compare that tion drives men back to the land. Mr. with the 2,000 per cent extortion on the Hill's prophetic vision foresees only one basket of grapes. And the co-operative door of hope—also starvation, comleagues of England yearly feed 8,000,000 pelling higher yields on the land. Many people. That is a cutting out of middle- thinkers agree with both big men. Are men, isn't it? Feeding twice as many they right? Will America wait for starpeople as live in New York! England's vation? She never has yet. She has taken co-operative leagues began sixty-five time by the forelock always, and averted years ago among some twenty-eight the evil. Will she do it in this case? poor weavers who succeeded in saving Will some great co-operative organiza$5 each in one year, pooled their capital tion bridge the chasm between producer and did a total business of $3,550 the and consumer? Reciprocity may bring
The second year they made an era of lower prices; but so long as profits equal to their original capital. farmers are flocking from the farm, the Today, those leagues employ 18,000 peo- relief can be only temporary.
Seven ple, have 150 telegraphic addresses on million people—Canada's populationtheir books, sell to members close on to cannot make material difference in the six-hundred-million dollars' worth of cost of feeding 100,000,000 people. Is produce, and pay back to their sharehold- the giant to be left standing with one ers not the extortionate 2,000 per cent. foot on the city man's stomach and one but something over three million dollars, foot on the farmer's back, filching from less than half of one per cent. on business both sides; his warehouses literally done. This, of course, does not show the bursting with food stored and held back saving in price to the purchaser.
to force prices yet higher; stored and Mr. Wilson says there will be no bridg- held back till it rots and has to be ing of the chasm between grower and dumped into the sea ? It is for the peceater, producer and consumer, till starva- ple to give the answer.
CHAMPION MARBLE PLAYERS
BLUE SPRINGS, Mo., boasts of pos
beard : at his left, with the derby, Capsessing the world's champion marble tain George Webb, the undertaker; players. For nearly three years it has George Binger, farmer-champion, is been the fad there for the men to play shooting; next on
shooting ; next on the right is Lynn marbles in spare time instead of croquet Pryor, the blacksmith, whose shop is or horseshoe quoits. The result is an headquarters and clubrooms for the accuracy in shooting that is as marvel- world's champions. ous as the shots of an expert billiard player. Withal, Blue Springs doesn't take the game too seriously. The joke is told that the town has men so good that they can't defeat one another; and a favorite story relates that Uncle Dan Stanley, who is seventy-four years old, and Uncle Tom Halloway, who is seventy-five, “lagged from taw for two days" without either contestant winning the advantage of a sixteenth of an inch in the struggle to gain the privilege of claiming the first shot, so the contest had to be declared a draw even before it began.
In this photograph four champions appear: Uncle Dan Stanley, with the gray
THE CHAMPIONS IN A COMPETITION.
thousand dolIN G to
lars. The loss the Cali
to the public, fornia state
however, is board of for
much greater estry there
for t he were
reason that if hundred and
instead of in that state Charlton · Lawrence. Edholm being delast season
stroyed, had and they
manuburned over one-half million acres of factured it would put nearly two and land—nearly half of which was timber one-half million dollars into circulation. land—and destroyed two hundred and The direct loss, therefore, to the citizens forty million feet of timber.
of California was something over three This represents a loss to the owners million dollars, to say nothing of the loss of the timber, assuming an average due to destruction to watershed cover. stumpage value of two and one-half dol- The average fire covered 703 acres and lars per thousand, of about six hundred took sixty men ten hours to extinguish it.
As a rule, forest fires are caused by gross carelessness; a Mexican will throw away his half-burned cigarette into the tinder-like grass; a camper will neglect to extinguish the fire over which he broils his bacon, or will foolishly build it against a fallen trunk, rotten to the core, which may smoulder for weeks, like punk, and then start a blaze. Sometimes the fires are caused by sparks from engines used in logging camps or from a passing locomotive, and cases have been recorded where a fragment of a whiskey flask thrown along the trail has acted as a burning lens, starting destructive grass fires.
It is comparatively seldom that these forest and brush fires are wilfully ignited, yet there are people who are
so shortsighted and selfish or so criminally inclined that they will turn a fire demon loose upon the
THE BEGINNINGS OF A CONFLAGRATION IN THE BRUSH. country, which may destroy much property and many human herds, they showed no great enthusiasm lives before it can be checked.
in co-operating with the fire wardens. This is a true story of one such "fire Of course, when summoned to help fight bug," a man who displayed remarkable a fire they would pitch in and work hard cleverness in violating the law, but was with shovels and axes—at the rate of finally met by the superior cleverness of twenty-five cents an hour—but when it the men who protect society from his came to helping the forest rangers by sort.
taking out the necessary permits whenThe forest rangers in San Diego ever they burned off their own land, or County, California, had long been per- being willing to testify against those who plexed by a series of fires of mysterious were careless with fire, they showed origin. The country thereabouts is well themselves indifferent if not hostile to the settled and the Forest Reserves consist Forest Service. mainly of hills covered with brush, of no Among the most persistent of these value for timber but very valuable for offenders was a young rancher who apconserving the rainfall.
pears to have been the victim of what Now some of the ranchers in that vi- Kipling calls “an exaggerated ego," or cinity did not understand how the brushy as they express it in the Southwest, he growth could be of any use to anyone at was one of those fellows that you can't all; it sheltered the rabbits and quail that tell anything. The fact that a regulation preyed upon their crops, a nuisance and existed irritated him so that he would source of loss, and inasmuch as fresh go out of his way to defy it. Several feed would spring up on the burned-over times he had been reprimanded for failfields to the advantage of their flocks and ure to observe the simple precautions
flagration injured a neighbor's olive orchard and another got loose on the forest reserve and burned over one thousand acres of land before checked by the rangers. But by the time the authorities began to watch him, Daniel Webster was invariably ready to prove an alibi that covered each fire. He would be seen riding across the country on his grey stallion or at work some miles from the origin of the blaze at the time it started, and could bring witnesses to prove it. Sometimes he would be among
his friends at the store when attention would
be called to a little puff of smoke that LENS, OR "BURNING GLASS." FOCUSED OVER MATCHES.
meant the beginning of more trouble for the rangers. His alibi was perfect, yet
from his previous reputation the fire required by law when burning the brush wardens believed that Webster had someon his place, and his answers had always thing to do with these conflagrations. been defiant.
One trifling misdemeanor he did adWebster—his name was not Daniel mit, not to the authorities but to his Webster, but it will serve excellently to neighbor, an old man by the name of identify him—was finally threatened with Dale, who woke up one morning to prosecution by the forest supervisor, but find his fence posts blazing from a grass he did not cease violating the regulations. Webster was trying to beat the These were so simple and easily followed flames out and when the two of them that there seemed no excuse for his ignor- finally succeeded, the young man said he ing them. He was required to get a per- was sorry the fire had got out of his mit from the fire warden to burn off his control and offered to replace the burnt land at a certain time and a few men must posts. be on hand to see that the fire was kept A few days after that, Forest Ranger under control. Instead of having four John B. Simmons was riding in the men to look after one fire, it was re- neighborhood of Jamul Post Office, and ported that Webster had sometimes had as many as four fires burning on his place with only one man, himself, to keep them from spreading. He was cornered once and asked why he ran the risk of getting into trouble with the authorities in such a foolish manner.
"Oh, I'll take the chances," he said, “they won't fine me more than $50 if they do catch me, and the feed is worth more than that. Besides I am not going to pay a lot of men to stand around like fence posts and watch a fire!” Which trend of thought showed that Webster considered this Western country the land of the free in its broadest and most unrestricted sense.
However, when the threats of prosecution reached him from headquarters, he apparently ceased his depredations. True, the fires continued in the neighborhood of Jamul Post Office and the
This Is ONE OF THE PHOTOS THAT CONVICTED
THE FIREBUG. fire wardens were kept busy. One con- Note the twisted wires, lens, and burnt matches.
looking across the country a mile or so saw a small fire on the Curtiss ranch leased by Webster, and rode over to investigate and help put it out. Nobody seemed to know how it had started and after the ranchers had gone Ranger Simmons carefully went over the burned area but found nothing more suspicious than the prints of a horse's hoofs in an out-of-the-way place. These were not old prints but had evidently been made before the fire, as burned grass filled the depressions. The keen eye of the ranger noted
CAMPERS ARE Not Always CAREFUL ABOUT PUTTING OUT THEIR FIRES. slight malformation, a nick, in one of the hoof prints, and he made a force of men to fight it. They went first mental note of it.
to Webster's ranch house and found him • The next day, the nineteenth of Oc- busily digging and apparently unaware tober, 1909, Ranger Simmons once more of the cloud of smoke just over the ridge saw smoke in the same neighborhood just behind him.
behind him. He expressed great surabout noon and again rode over in that prise but said he was ready to help and direction, but was met by Fire Warden mounted his grey stallion to ride over, Steinmeyer who said there was no hurry first taking a pair of pliers out of his as the fire was already under control, hip pocket and throwing them on the being handled by Daniel Webster, ground. Steinmeyer and Webster then Ranger Sears and a couple of ranchers. hurried toward the fire while Sears rode
It seems that Ranger Sears had seen over to get help from the Strong broththe fire first and immediately rode out ers who lived near by. After summonwith Fire Warden Steinmeyer to get a ing them he took a short cut across the
ridge and presently saw Steinmeyer and
Sears put his horse to the gallop and
Presently the fire was under control
and Steinmeyer rode back and met This Is What WARDEN STEINMEYER, Who TRAPPED THE FIREBUG, FIRST SAW.
Ranger Simmons near the point where