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January 3, 1910


Pioneer Recalls the Days
Before the Railroad
Reached River.

Enchanting is the romance of the Golden West, the story of mountain and plain. Forming the most striking drama in American history, the record, alas, is but fragmentary -- the half has not been told. For, imperfectly have the annals been kept of the vast domain west of the Mississippi river from the time of early settlement to the present. Evidences of marvelous transformation are at hand, fruits of pioneer privations are enjoyed, but the annal of achievement in details has been neglected by historians. Reminiscences of early settlers can now alone supply the deficiency.

To a great extent has the history of Independence, Mo., to do with that of the West. This city was the scene of the initial step in the march of progress. Preparatory to crossing the desert, westward bound caravans procured supplies there. Frontiersmen, explorers and prospectors, returning home, brought to Independence the first news of discovery, for this city was then the greatest trading post in the West.


Prominent among the pioneers was Henry A. Schnepp, who is now a resident of Galesburg, Ill., but is now visiting his brother, David Schnepp, at the latter's home, 413 Whittier place. Mr. Schnepp was conspicuously identified with the early growth of Independence and lived there for fifteen years, leaving during the year 1890.

"In the early fifties Independence was the outfitting point for all the country west of the Missouri river and was the headquarters for frontiersmen," said Mr. Schnepp yesterday afternoon. "The paramount issue was to retain this lucrative trade and active measures were adopted with that end in view. This gave impetus to the construction of the first railroad in the West, which ran from the river to this city. A depot was built at Wayne City and a terminal established at the postoffice. The cars, which ran over wooden rails, were drawn by horses.

"Before the construction of the Hannibal & St. Joe Railway in1856 all transportation was by river. Apropos the recent agitating with regard to navigating the Missouri, it seems to me that as the river was navigable then, it should be now."


Mr. Schnepp staged through Iowa when that state was but sparsely settled. When he traveled along the Hawkeye frontier in 1854 the capital of that state was located at Iowa City and the territory west of Des Moines, the present capital, was inhabited almost exclusively by Indians.

"I could never forget the first overland mail route to Salt Lake City. The mail was carried by stage coach and the trip required many days under favorable weather conditions. The route extended from Independence to Westport, thence to Fort Riley, in Kansas; Fort Bridges, in Wyoming, and on to Salt Lake. The charge for carrying each letter was 25 cents, collectable on delivery. Prior to the establishment of the pony express in 1853-4, mail from the West was carried by a boat around Cape Horn."

Mr. Schnepp says that the gold fields of California were discovered by Joseph D. Childs, an uncle of C. C. Childs, an Independence banker. A contractor by profession, Joseph Childs was erecting a mill near Sacramento when workmen excavating a race found gold. This discovery started the rush to California, and Mr. Schnepp was one of the first to go for a fortune. He did not acquire fabulous wealth, but returned home with enough gold that he has not since been called a poor man.

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March 23, 1909


Australian Military Official Vis-
iting American Posts.

The military of Australia is to be conducted in some respects like that of the United States, and for the purpose of getting ideas to use in the Antipodes. Major General John C. Hoad, inspector general of the commonwealth of Australia, is visiting United States army posts where service schools are maintained.

Major Hoad was in Kansas City yesterday morning on his way from Leavenworth to Fort Riley. He has visited all the principal forts in the Eastern states and will end his trip with a visit to the Presidio of San Francisco.

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June 17, 1908


Captain Lawton's Journey to Topeka
in Studebaker a Hard Trip
Through Mud.

Back from to Topeka by motor car, Captain Frank H. Lawton, in charge of the army's purchasing department in Kansas City, says he didn't believe the automobile could come through such a journey as he completed Monday afternoon. Most of the distance the mud was up to the hubs, but even where the roads were most impassable, the motor car forced a way under its own power.

The flood made Captain Lawton's trip imperative. A message from the war department on Saturday afternoon told him to go at once to Topeka, where stores bound for Fort Riley had been stopped by the high water. There was no chance to get a train, so Captain Lawton, thinking of the trip of the army car last winter, called up the Studebaker company and asked for a motor car. W. L. Walls, of the motor car department, was ready within an hour and the plow to Topeka was begun.

As nearly as possible, the route had been laid out on high ground, and but for this fact the journey would have been impossible. The motor car, leaving Kansas City at 4 o'clock Saturday afternoon, was run all night, with stops only for food, and reached Topeka at 1:30 Sunday afternoon. The distance by odometer was about 150 miles.

The car, returning, left Topeka Monday morning and got back in twelve hours, while it took a train fifteen hours to go the same distance, on account of the detours that had to be made. T. G. Sweeney drove on the return trip to Kansas City.

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April 1, 1907


Will Create Brigade Posts at Riley
and Leavenworth

WASHINGTON, March 31 -- (Special.) President Roosevelt will soon issue the order, to take affect in July, creating brigade posts at Fort Leavenworth, Fort Riley and possibly Fort Sill.

Each brigade post will be under command of a brigadier general and be brigaded for instructions and maneuvers.

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