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people, though not much addicted to religion, had offered him a larger salary. That was the blow that awakened Smiths Corner. The Baptists employed another pastor at a larger salary and filled up the mudhole in front of the church. A Ladies' Civic League was formed for the purpose of inducing residents to keep their front yards mowed and their front gates on hinges. Civic pride rolled up its municipal sleeves and started in to show the young and impudent Carbondale how a town should be run. Someone said Carbondale eyed the brick court house enviously. Smiths Corner began to build sidewalks,pave streets and paint the houses. A wagon factory and a Methodist school were added to the town. Now there are two very prosperous towns in Irving County each one keeping an eye on the population of the other. Neither one dares sleep out of fear that the other may be awake and each one keeps growing.
When the Indians began dying out rapidly in the Southwest, and venturesome capitalists started building railroads, new towns were projected so fast that the map makers were always sev
eral years behind. Everyone of these towns, as soon as it achieved a population of two hundred was afflicted with the court house fever. Indeed, for an ambitious town a month old and possessing a population of two hundred wandering and skittish souls, a court house is the surest anchor. It secures not only more permanent location but also an increase in population. Each new town watched the population of the old county seat and as soon as victory was sure an election was called and the court house moved. Then the old county seat watched its chance and worked to secure the county majority. This accomplished, another, election was called and the court house moved again, taking a lot of population with it.
Vagaries of the Texas election law in its definition of a voter aided the frontier town builders in their work. One section of the law said that a voter's residence was maintained at the place where his washing was done. Resourceful town promoters soon saw the opportunity in this, and every town preparing for a
court house fight became a great laundry center. Cowboys and railroad laborers, who were alike disdainful of the privileges of suffrage and the joys of clean linen, were bribed to give up their soiled shirts and receive clean ones in return and after a primary course in sanitation and politics voted with great skill and frequency. When the legislature met it always had to waste a good deal of time locating the new county seats. One session grew so peevish over it that a law was passed making it a felony, or a misdemeanor, or something of the kind, to move a court house in less than five years after its establishment. Since then competition for population between Texas towns has been compelled to develop in One hundred years ago a little more than three per cent, of the entire population lived in cities, the others being content to remain on farms in spite of the fact that none had rural telephones or rural mail delivery. During the hundred years the cities have been fighting for population, each one trying to be the biggest in its territory. They have acquired paved streets, libraries, museums, street cars, schools—a hundred new luxuries and conveniences until life in an apartment house in the modern American city offers the greatest possible amount of comfort at the least expense of money or care. In the meantime the farmers have secured, very recently, rural free delivery and a few rural telephones. To be sure the invention of farm machinery has lightened his labor. At the same time it has made the road to wealth easier and has sent the farmers scurrying to town in greater numbers. Every big crop year marks a corresponding increase in the city or small town population, a decrease in the number living on the farms. Indeed the only way to keep the farmer in the country has been to keep him poor. As soon as he can afford it he promptly
sells his farm and as promptly moves to town.
In view of these facts it has seemed to be rather humorous that city dwellers should be preachers of the "back to the farm" idea. We go on making our cities more attractive so that they will compete for population with the country and then urge farmers to remain where they are or the city dwellers to go back to the farm.
Only recently have serious attempts been made by the states to attract farm population. Colorado now has a state immigration bureau, with an annual appropriation of $30,000 to be used in inducing farmers from other states or immigrants from Europe to settle on Colorado land. Missouri has a similar bureau and Kansas business men facing competition of this kind on the east and the west will ask the next session of the legislature for an immigration bureau.
Before this work was taken up by a few western states the only attempts to attract farmer population were made by real estate and colonization agents with land to sell homeseekers.
Their methods are the same as those
of Hernando Cortez, who after conquering Mexico, sought to attract population from Europe by the enthusiasm of his reports about the richness of the country. The rapidity with which people crossed the ocean to the new land proved that Cortez was equally successful as a promoter and a conqueror. Stephen F. Austin, for whom the capitol of the State of Texas is named, was one of many colonization agents whose names are famous in American history. Austin took the first colony of Anglo-Saxons into Texas, while it was still a part of Mexico, and the literature he sent out descriptive of the country and its wonderful opportunities for farmers, would serve as a model for colonization agents today.
Competition for population moves in an ever widening circle, reaching from town to town, county to county, state to state and finally from east to west. Ever since the first colony was formed on the shore of the Atlantic the west and east have been competing, with the west winning all the time. In 1790, the center of population was twenty-three miles east of Baltimore. At the end of the century it was west of that city and it moved westward for a hundred years at the rate
of five miles a year. Between 1850 and 1860 the movement was the most rapid, when it jumped from Parkersburg to Chillicothe, Ohio, a distance of eightyone miles. Between 1890 and 1900 the westward movement dropped to fourteen miles but it is still moving. It has been a fight between the factories of the east and the cheap lands of the west, with the cheap lands winning all the time.
American population has spread over the map according to the opportunities for business, whether the business be farming or factories but long before towns began looking forward to census returns and boasting of the size the figures indicated, kings and armies decided the fights of rival cities or countries for population. Babylon was a struggling village five thousand years ago. Then King Hammurabi, who was a town builder with original ideas, started on his campaign of city building. He removed many rival cities from the landscape and made others pay big taxes for the privilege of existence. Babylon real estate advanced rapidly in value and many suburban additions were put on to take care of the increased population. The boom he started continued for 1,500 years until Cyrus, the Persian, captured it and