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the characteristics of the more settled parts of the country-may not be without service.

The territory in question is in the most remote part of the Coast Range Mountains in northwestern California, and occupies an area of a few hundred square miles. The population, which is largely native American-with a sprinkling of foreigners and a few Indians and half-breeds-averages barely one person to the square mile. Far to the north lies the county seat, which can be reached only by a journey of from fifty to eighty miles, first by horseback over mountain trails, and then by stage coach. Two or three times a week the United States mail is carried on horseback from the ends of the stage lines to the mountain postoffices. These latter are situated in private housesthose of the post-masters. Consequently, when a post office changes hands it also changes location; and the small circle on the map which stands for a mountain office must be regarded as representing an unstable quantity. In this whole region there is no settlement which can be dignified by the name of village.

Practically all of the people own the land on which they live, having obtained it in most cases directly from the Government, generally under the homestead law. Though the mountains are magnificently forested, up to the present the lumber industry has remained undeveloped because of the lack of transportation facilities. The chief money-getting occupation of this frontier tract is stock-raising, an industry made possible by the fact that cattle, sheep and pigs can convey themselves down to the coast to market.2

These California mountaineers are self-reliant and self-sustaining to a remarkable degree. But one or two trips per year are made to the coast for the purpose of obtaining the necessaries which cannot be made at home. Such supplies are purchased in the coast towns, or are secured through catalogue from the large mail-order houses in Chicago and New York.

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A family which lived in a little valley in the heart of the region may serve as a type of the thrifty enterprising frontier family. After failing at grain farming because of drought and "hard times," the two parents with several small children moved into the mountains and took up" government land, and engaged in cattle-raising. At first, while getting on their feet financially, they lived in temporary cabins, but in a few years the father and sons had most of the level land cleared and a comfortable home built. As the nearest saw-mill was a great distance away, all of the lumber for the buildings was prepared by hand from trees felled on the homestead. The house stood on slightly elevated ground in a small group of pine trees. It was made of hewn logs and was a story and a half high. Nothing which went into the composition of the building, except the paneled front door, the window sashes, and the necessary nails, bolts, hinges, etc., was brought from the outside world. A large yard around the house was inclosed 2 Cf., Ibid, p. 211.

8 A small stock of pencils, stationery, notions and tobacco is generally carried by the local post-master.

by a picket fence. Across the road were a roomy barn and other ranch buildings, high calf and pig pens and corrals, all, like the house, made of handwrought lumber.

The interior furnishings of the house were also largely of domestic manufacture. The well-scrubbed floors, made-like the ceilings of smooth, wide boards of sugar pine, was uncovered save for a few braided mats and the skins of such wild animals as panthers, wild cats and coyotes. With the exception of a lounge and a rocker, all of the wooden furniture was home-made of simple pattern and unpainted. The rocker and lounge contributed to the furnishings of the living room, which also contained a sheetiron stove, a sewing machine, several chairs of oak with seats of interlaced rawhide, and two pine tables, upon one of which stood the phonograph, found in almost every mountain home. The bed-rooms were even more simply furnished. Straw ticks of generous proportions took the place of spring mattresses upon the plain pine bedsteads; but there were good feather pillows, and the bed linen was white and clean. top cover, instead of the conventional white spread, was a pieced quilt of elaborate pattern. A corner of the room curtained off and supplied with a few hooks -was the clothes closet; a small pine table—or a packing box fitted with shelves concealed by a curtain-with a small mirror on the wall above, served as a dresser. One large room did service as both kitchen and dining room. The only part of its furnishings brought from outside were the cook stove and a small stock of kitchen utensils. The large, strong dining table was constructed of pine planks, and was covered with a cloth made from bleached salt sacks pieced together and neatly hemmed.


The food served upon this table was abundant and well cooked. Since practically their only source of revenue was their live stock, these mountaineers were too thrifty to slaughter them for food, so long as game could be had for the hunting. Consequently, almost the only meat was game-generally venison, served in the form of roasts, stews and steaks, but occasionally varied by grouse, quail, or rabbit. Though some bolted flour was purchased every summer in the settlements, whole wheat flour, made at home, was also used. The grain was grown on the clearing, cut, as a rule, by scythes, threshed by flails or by the tramping of horses' feet, and ground in a hand mill. The wheat, coarsely ground, was also made into "mush; " and hominy was prepared from field corn. Milk and cream and sweet butter were abundant; also home-made cheese, set" with the rennet of a fawn. An orchard and a vegetable garden, planted on a sunny slope and watered by a spring, supplied the table with vegetables, and with fruit remarkably free from scale and other parasites which have given trouble to horticulturalists elsewhere. A large supply of fruit and vegetables was put away for winter use; some was canned and

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4 This is not typical; many of the mountaineers heat their living rooms by means of a fireplace with a chimney of unshaped stone.

I pickled, but much was preserved by drying, and stored away in flour sacks along with the "jerked" venison in the attic. Wild currants, gooseberries and blackberries at times augmented the supply of domestic fruit.

The mother of this household and her daughters had command of other home industries besides those already mentioned. From deer tallow and ash lye they made all of the soap used by the family. Deer tallow, mixed with bees'-wax, was also converted into candles, which supplemented kerosene as an illuminant. From fruit parings was made the household supply of vinegar. A fair sort of black ink was produced by the chemical action resulting from dropping rusty nails into a vessel containing the acid juice squeezed from green oak galls. The girls made coarse brooms for sweeping the yard from fir boughs; while for use in the house the mother made strong, neat ones from home-grown broom corn, closely resembling those of factory make. All of the gloves for the family were made from deerskins tanned by the men and cut and stitched on the sewing machine by the mother, who also occasionally filled orders for neighbors. The family owned a shoe-repairing outfit, and all of the older members, girls as well as boys, repaired their own shoes.

This family, as has been indicated, is typical of the more thrifty mountaineers in the more isolated part of the territory; but the households of the majority of the population bear a pretty close resemblance to this one. Obviously, however, those who live nearer to the settlements display fewer of the frontier characteristics. It should also be mentioned that at the other end of the cultural scale may be found an occasional "squaw man," who, with his companion, lives in a shack or a one-roomed cabin in a manner primitive indeed.

In the absence of railroads and of good and adequate wagon roads, most traveling is on horseback. Women generally ride astride on men's saddles. The regulation suitcase is a flour sack. Into this the clothes necessary for a journey are stuffed after being carefully rolled and wrapped in paper; and the sack is tied securely to the back of the saddle. As the clothes are generally of strong materials and plainly made, they do not suffer much from the treatment. There are no inns or hotels in the mountains, but the traveler can always secure food and a bed—or a part of one at some private house. The etiquette of the frontier demands that anyone in need of shelter and entertainment be received. Particularly welcome is the stranger from the outside world who produces pleasant break in the monotony of the isolated life.

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The most usual social events are visits—generally of at least a day's duration-dances and weddings. If the visitor is a man, unless he is a suitor he generally remains out of doors with the men and discusses with them the affairs of the neighbors, live stock, or stale politics. If the guest is a woman, after the usual exchange of gossip, the hostess is likely to bring out for her inspection the latest samples of crocheting and patchwork done by the family-not

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overlooking the work done by little Nellie, not yet six, or the rising sun" quilt made by grandmother, who is past eighty-without glasses. An unusually fine pair of wild boar's tusks or deer's antlers may also be displayed for the interest of the visitor. And no guest will depart without hearing the phonograph play the records acquired since his last visit.

Dances generally take place in the district schoolhouse, but are occasionally given in a private home. Practically all comers are welcome, and visitors frequently ride many miles to be present. Amateur talent furnishes music; and the dances are those which were popular in the more settled communities a generation ago. Supper time offers a special opportunity for the exchange of gossip, and for jests and practical jokes, frequently bordering upon coarseness, but offered and received with good nature.

The mountaineers take courtship and marriage seriously; flirting is frowned upon, and divorce is rare. Girls marry young. Frequently the bridal couple go to the county seat for the wedding, and for a brief honeymoon, but at times the ceremony is performed by the local justice of the peace. A home wedding is an event of general importance, for the invitations are pretty comprehensive. The bride usually dresses in a simple white gown made by herself, and the groom perhaps for the first time in his life dons a boiled shirt" and a stiff collar. A bountiful feast follows the ceremony, and the occasion frequently ends in a dance. On the evening after the wedding the young men of the community are likely to treat the newly-married pair to the vulgar but venerable "shiveree."

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Families on the frontier are large; no trace of race suicide" is discernible. Yet though children are welcome, these mountain parents are not so ambitious for their offspring as are average American parents in the country at large. Many children attend school very irregularly, partly because the distance which they must ride or walk in order to reach the district schoolhouse is often great, but not infrequently because parents keep them home to work, or permit them to consult their own inclinations about attending. In consequence, many children are tardy in completing the grammar school course, and a large number leave school without finishing it. Only occasionally is a child sent away to high school or to business college. All children, however, are early taught to work with their hands. Little girls of ten or twelve often make their own clothes, and also show nearly as much skill in cooking and other household arts as their mothers; and boys are likewise taught when quite young to be skilful at out-of-door work. In general, parents seek to give their sons and daughters the rudiments of book-learning and the practical training which they themselves have acquired, after which they are quite satisfied to see them settled upon homesteads of their own.

The wholesome life in the mountains makes for health and longevity. But when sickness does come the nearest physician, who may live as much as fifty miles distant, is sent for but rarely, and then only as GENERAL LIBRARY



a last resort. Instead, some neighbor, skilled in the use of home remedies, or possessed of a medicine chest and a doctor book, is called in. And though in time. of health the two families concerned may not be on speaking terms, in time of trouble the response is prompt and cordial; and everything possible is done to relieve suffering and to preserve life.

Death makes a profound impression, though there may be but little display of grief. The code of the frontier demands that all who can possibly do so attend the funeral, whether friend or enemy. By this means respect is shown for the deceased-or for death itself in the abstract-and sympathy is offered to the bereaved ones. The coffin is a plain, unpainted box, made by a neighbor and lined with white cloth. The funeral services, which are very simple, are held in the home of the deceased, or under the trees out of doors. A hymn or two are sung, and a leading member of the community-frequently the district school teacher-reads a passage from the Bible or makes a few remarks appropriate to the occasion, after which the burial takes place. In the absence of a public cemetery, each family has its own buryingground, usually near the house. The hands of neighbors dig the grave and perform all of the offices necessary to the burial. These kindly services being performed, the mountaineers ride thoughtfully back to their homes and resume the thread of their workaday lives.

Except for an occasional short term of Sunday School maintained by a district school teacher, no public religious services are held in this territory; and no conventional missionary penetrates into it. Yet the people as a whole are religious, thoug! possessing but a meagre theology; they prefer works to faith, keep a firm grip on the belief of the Western cowboy in a square game" on the part of the Eternal, and leave the details to chance.

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The personal character of the frontiersmen, like their general manner of life, bears the stamp of the frontier. Some of the men have well-established reputations as cattle rustlers," but since the cattle are generally stolen from large herds upon extensive ranges, and the "lifting" is managed so skilfully as to rouse suspicion rather than conviction of guilt, based upon strong evidence, in the minds of the owners, the offenders but rarely fall into the hands of the law. Jumping" land is another form of neighborliness at times indulged in, when any flaw in the title to a tract of government land becomes known. particularly unfortunate fault, generally originating from one or the other of the weaknesses already mentioned, is a tendency to dissension and chronic enmity. This strife and hostility, because of the manner in which the grievance is adopted by all of the members of the families involved in the quarrel, reminds one of the feuds in the mountains in the Southeastern States. The inveterate ill-feeling extends even to the school children, and manifests itself in the form of freely-exchanged insults and roughand-tumble fights on the playground.

People as self-reliant as these naturally look upon

the payment of taxes as an unnecessary evil, to be avoided, if possible. As complete evasion is not generally possible, the ranchmen reduce the amount which they must pay to a minimum by regularly lying to the assessor regarding the number of livestock which they own. Obviously there is always a fair proportion of the population whose sense of honor will not permit them to dodge this payment, any more than it will allow them to sell their votes-a form of traffic not monopolized by the older and more settled parts of the country-but the feeling is pretty general that the man who gives in all of his cattle is something of a fool, or at least is lacking in proper business instinct.

Closely related to this expedient is the attitude towards the game law. Broadly speaking, the frontiersmen observe only such clauses of the law as appeal to them as being just and reasonable, and these are faithfully kept; others are almost as regularly broken, for the game warden but rarely intrudes, and deer and other game are plentiful. Only the most conscienceless shoot does—a violation of the code for it is evident that to do so is to reduce the future supply of venison. On the other hand, the law prohibiting traffic in deerskins is commonly winked at; and when a buyer for a California glove factory goes through the region, ostensibly for the purpose of selling fruit, great piles of skins are brought from storage in attics and barns, to be tucked snugly away under the fruit boxes, and the buckskin purses of the mountaineers grow heavy with the money of the fruit peddler.


But these sturdy dwellers on the frontier are not without a goodly supply of virtues. Their thrift and self-reliance have been mentioned; also their openhearted hospitality and fine community spirit of helpfulness in time of distress. Most of them also possess a courage to meet and overcome difficulties, accompanied by a commendable touch of dignity and reserve, which, though it at times causes them to appear wanting in feeling towards one another, prevents a dissipation of energy by over-demonstration, and enables them better to bear disappointment and


A spirit of democracy dominates this mountain region. The only real class distinctions existing are

5 Cf., Turner, Frederick J., "The Significance of the Frontier in American History," in Am. Hist. Assn. Report, 1893, p. 222.

6 This subterfuge reminds of one to which attention is called by a law passed by the House of Burgesses of Virginia, November, 1738, entitled, "An Act for licensing Pedlars; and preventing frauds in the duties upon Skins and Furs." The preamble reads as follows: "Whereas divers vagrant and idle people are frequently found traveling about the country under the name of pedlars; and great frauds and abuses are committed and carried on by such persons, particularly in the exportation of skins and furs without paying duty" (Hening, "Statutes at Large of Virginia," Vol. 54).

7 The population includes a few people calling themselves Socialists, who, however, seem to know but little about the real principles of Socialism.


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drawn along the lines of morality, and in drawing
such lines, wrong perspectives and unjust standards
play little part. An example of the frontier point
of view is the attitude towards the
squaw inan
and his Indian companion. The woman is usually re-
garded as a poor thing who does not know any
better," while the man-in consequence of his greater
opportunities for moral enlightenment-is
demned, though not utterly. Indeed, before being
completely ostracised from frontier society one must
be a thoroughly hardened sinner. This democratic
tendency partially explains the friendly attitude
towards the admission of women to the right of suf-
frage; but the fact that frontier women lead as
thoughtful and intelligent lives as their husbands and
brothers was not without influence. The worth of the
women is recognized, and their opinions carry weight.
Indeed, the genuine respect shown womanhood is one
of the most marked characteristics of the men in this
isolated territory. Women may travel alone over the

wildest forest trails in perfect safety; and little mercy would be shown to any man who might violate the unwritten code of frontier chivalry by molesting them.


Such is life in this isolated fragment of the last western frontier line or such it was recently; but the region is in a stage of rapid transition. A telephone system has been introduced by the forest service; and railroad lines closely connecting the territory with the coast towns to the west and with San Francisco to the south are on the verge of completion. Good public wagon roads are also being constructed. Adequate means of transportation will develop new commercial industries-particularly lumbering and fruit-growing for the San Francisco markets. With these new industries will come a greater interdependence between the country at large and the mountain community, which will result in a few years in the entire elimination of the distinctly frontier characteristics of the latter.

"The Last American Frontier"


From July 1, 1905, to March 31, 1913 (say Canadian official figures), approximately two hundred thousand persons from the United States migrated to the Canadian province of Alberta, one hundred and sixty-seven thousand to Saskatchewan, fifty-three thousand to Manitoba, one hundred and thirty thousand to British Columbia. This bare statement of fact may interest the historical profession. The subject of migration and settlement is one very frequently considered by us; and this movement of population from the United States to the northwest of Canada can hardly fail to be an historical fact of importance. The numbers of the migrants are themselves impressive when thought of in connection with those "hordes that overwhelmed Rome. And, if this modern multitude is not actuated with hostile or aggressive motives, it may yet effect results that are of great significance. It is not the business of the historian to prophesy; but he cannot escape-and ought not a profound interest in contemporary affairs, for out of this interest may grow a fuller appreciation of past affairs; and, as a student of present tendencies-which the historian is bound to be he is best fitted by training and habits of thought to weigh facts judicially and intelligently.

From the given statistics, then, the historical worker will most likely observe that as a factor in American history, the frontier has not yet disappeared. The forty-ninth parallel is in only a very narrow sense a boundary between the United States and Canada. The historian is not permitted to establish arbitrary divisions where real differences do not exist. The proximity of similar conditions north of parallel forty-nine to those south of the line, has caused in one way or another a repetition of some aspects of American history that in years past were


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seen on the Missouri, the Mississippi, or the Ohio. The summer of 1913 was spent by me on the upper Saskatchewan River in and around Edmonton, and on one occasion I went north to the Athabasca River to the city of Athabasca. The dominant impression from my experience was the continuity of conditions in this new country with those formerly obtaining in the middle United States. One finds there the same thirst for quick results in business, particularly in real estate; a large transitory population, with men, especially young men, more numerous than women; an eager but not economical exploitation of natural resources; possibly some raggedness in political ideals. As one proceeds farther north one finds more primitive conditions. At Athabasca I found the hotels-especially the bar-rooms-apparently doing the best business. About the streets hung a motley population of men from all parts and of all descriptions. With the whites were mixed many breeds" and 'bloods "-half-breeds and full-blooded Indians-loitering, drinking, jollying. Had I been there earlier or later I might have seen the outfits for the northern fur trade or the farmers of the Peace River district leaving or entering the town; for Athabasca is at the end of the railroad into the Mackenzie basin, and thus the point of transshipment for supplies.

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taken into account. Consequently, there has been a resumption of the westward movement," with a deflection to the northwest. In some important respects the conditions are not identical. The settler ships his family and goods as far north as the Athabasca River, and as far west as the Pacific Ocean by railway. If he goes farther north—and not a few do this he uses the river steamers or scows, and the cross-country trails. The rivers are typical prairie streams-rapid, muddy, but navigable for the same type of steamer that once ascended the Missouri and its branches. They are stern-wheelers, drawing two feet of water or less. At Edmonton and Athabasca ferries are provided, consisting of a sort of scow attached to a cable, and held in such a position that the current of the river forces it across from bank to bank. With these facilities for transportation, it is not surprising that in the last few years many thousands of people from the United States have sold their high-priced farms, and have gone to settle on the low-priced farms or the homesteads of the Canadian northwest. As has often happened before in the history of the race, the pressure of living conditions in the parts of the country the longest settled, has contributed to encourage this migration. The discovery that crops could be raised in large quantities in the Canadian northwest, and that living conditions were there on the whole pleasant, even delightful, has given direction to this movement of relief.

The rich black soil, unencumbered for the most part with trees, produces every crop raised in the northwestern United States, with the exception of maize. To this are added deposits of coal and asphalt, and the presence of natural gas. Logs are floated down the rivers to be sawed into lumber where lumber is required. It is not remarkable, then, that persons from the United States have migrated to this district during recent years.


The teacher of American history needs to be aware of these facts to avoid establishing arbitrary boundaries to his study where boundaries do not exist. will also obtain from this situation abundant illustration from a contemporary movement of many things which he deals with in reference to the past. He will, of course, not always be looking for exact parallels, for many attendant circumstances of emigration are different now from other days. Principal among these is the change in transportation and communication. But the same underlying human aspirations are still present. Present also, it may be supposed, but not easily determinable, are those influences on the political, economic and social aspects of American life that have been ascertained for earlier epochs; but their force is probably lessened by the greater preponderance of the East. But the presence of a still vast unoccupied and fertile area in northwestern America will continue probably to give a far greater mobility to American conditions than, lacking which, would exist. Beyond the Athabasca River for hundreds of miles is a country which I have often heard praised and never heard disparaged.

The extension of railways into this region will prolong the movement of population. The beginning of this period is very close at hand.

The race, dominant in the prairie States, is also dominant in the prairie provinces. The impulse which took our ancestors beyond the Alleghenies, takes our contemporaries and their descendants into the Mackenzie basin. As one writes this in the midst of what he is describing, he is not conscious of being in a foreign land. His own people are all about him -masterful, speculative, resourceful. It is not all the same both sides of the border. Governmental agencies obtrude themselves in varying manners; yet the general tenor of life is what is styled "typically American." I have already referred to some phases of the situation. I may continue the point. Business is the chief consideration. Nearly one-half of the buildings contain real estate offices, for now, as always in a rapidly advancing economic situation, real estate affords the readiest means of getting quick financial returns. And the towns are filled with the newly rich-including many who have not learned other than the simplest ways of spending their gains. Provincial universities are established, in large measure on paper, and by many are prized as a good "talking-point" in explaining the advantages of one location over those of another. There is, of course, great diversity in the degree of development displayed by different localities. In Edmonton one sees a substantial modern city. Around it one finds raw prairie towns, or forts of the northwest fur trade. Life is hopeful, unsettled, refined and crude all together. In close proximity lie the manufacturing frontier, the agricultural frontier, and the hunter's frontier. There is a rapid transformation from one to another form of frontier activity. In a general way, the teacher of American history may perceive aspects of American life which he may suppose departed with the buffalo and the stage coach.

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If some features of this American migration are patent, others—eventually perhaps the most significant-are now hidden. Its influence on the political relations of Canada and the United States is speculative but potential. Its effect on economic conditions in the United States is indeterminable. That it is thought to affect real estate values adversely is evidenced by efforts to discredit it. That it might affect the condition of capital and industry is evidenced by the remarks of Speaker Clark uttered some time since. That it is causing economic and social conditions in western Canada to approximate to those here is evident to a visitor to that section coming from south of the boundary. While these considerations do not fall peculiarly within the pervue of the historical profession, it may well be interested in them as a contemporary illustration of remoter situations with which he by convention is thought exclusively to be concerned; and it is not amiss for us to take into our view facts which most assuredly will concern our


The preceding portion of this article was prepared at Edmonton in the summer of 1913. In resuscitat

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