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(Transcribed by Dorman Holub)

    The beautiful and fertile section of Texas now comprising the populous and wealthy county of Dallas, was occupied by the Indians when first approached by the white settlers. While they were not as numerous as in other sections, they were found scattered through the timbers, especially on the Trinity river, to such an extent as to cause the earlier settlers much trouble and annoyance as well as damage.
   There have been many conjectures as to the time this race of people had lived here, but whether for a long or short period one fact is said to be very evident, namely, that the Indians were originally the first people that ever trod the soil of Dallas county.
   There are not here any traces of that memorable, conjectured race of people,-the moundbuilders, as can be seen in other States. If this mysterious and little known, but evidently intelligent prehistoric race had ever populated this county, or even country, they would have left some of their remarkable impressions-some traces,-yes, some "foot-prints on the sands of time," as they left in other sections of North America.
   Whence the origin of this peculiar race called the Indian, found here as well as in all new countries of America, is certainly a very natural question to any reader, and more especially to the investigating and philosophical mind. Concerning this question conjectures after conjectures and theories after theories have been advanced by the most gifted and learned historians; and even some of the most distinguished philologists have endeavored to ascertain, by tracing and analyzing their means of communication to each other, some intelligent, but all have left us still in the sea of conjecture.
   A popular and somewhat common theory accepted by many is that the Indians existed ill the 4, conjectural history of the world." Others have very sanguinely considered them the "lineal descendants of the lost tribes of Israel."
   Some affirm that they have their origin from this, that or the other ancient nation; but whatever theory is right, it is nevertheless a striking fact worthy of special mention that almost all historians agree that this race must have by some means crossed over from Asia into this country. It is claimed that there was a period in the world's history when America and Asia constituted one and the same great country, and that it was at this remote period of time that the Indian's lot was cast upon this soil. But from whatever source, country or climate they came from, one fact is apparent and strikingly so, namely, that they all bear similar characteristics, in manner of living, personal appearance and means of communication, which is said to be altogether different from any other race known to have existed. Their language has been a stumbling block, so to speak, to the most atninent philologist, as there liar, Never been found any similarity whatever in any of their languages to that of other nations.
   To show what widely different theories have been assumed and advocated by some of the most eminent scholars of the land concerning this peculiar people found here in Dallas county, and as is said to have been found in all newly discovered countries of this continent, the following is given from Bancroft's history:
   "The American Indians, their origin and consanguinity have from the day of Columbus to the present time proved a knotty question. School-men and scientists count their theories by the hundreds, each sustaining some pet conjecture with a logical clearness equaled only by the facility with which he demolishes all the rest. One proves their origin by holy writ; another by the writings of ancient philosophers; another by the sage sayings of the fathers; one discovers them in Phoenician merchants; another, in the lost tribes of Israel. They are tracked with equal certainty from Scandinavia, from Ireland, from Iceland, from Greenland, across Bering Strait, from Asia across the Northern Pacific, from the Southern Pacific, from the Polynesian Islands, from Australia, and even from Africa; venturesome Carthaginians were thrown upon the Eastern shore; Japanese junks oil the Western.
   "The breezes that wafted hither the American primogenitors are still blowing, and the ocean currents by which they came cease not yet to flow. The finely spun web of logic by which these fancies are maintained would prove amusing did not the profound earnestness of their respective advocates render them ridiculous. Acosta, who studied the subject for nine years in Peru, concludes that America was the Ophir of Solomon. Aristotle relates that the Carthaginians in a voyage were carried to an unknown island; whereupon Florian, Gomora, Oriedo, and others are satisfied the island was Espaiiola.
   "Who are these that fly as a cloud exclaims Esaias, or as the doves to their windows?' Scholastic sages answer, 'Columbus is the Columba, or dove, here prophesied.'
   "Alexo Vanegas shows that America was peopled by Carthiginians: Anahuac is but another name for Anak. Besides, both nations practiced picture writing, both venerated fire and water, wore skins of animals, pierced the ears, ate dogs, drank to excess, telegraphed by means of fires on hills, wore all their finery on going to war, poisoned their arrows, beat drums and shouted in battle. Garcia found a man in Peru who had seen a rock with something very like Greek characters engraved upon it. Six hundred years after the apotheosis of Hercules, Coleo made a long voyage; Homer knew of the ocean; the Athenians made war with the inhabitants of Atlantis; hence the Americans were Greeks! Lord Kingsborough proves conclusively that these same American Indians were Jews, because their symbol of innocence was, in the one case, a fawn and in the other a lamb; because of the law of Moses, considered in reference to the custom of sacrificing children, which existed in Mexico and Peru; because the fear of tumults of the people, famine, pestilence and warlike invasions were exactly the same as those entertained by the Jews, if they failed in the performance of any of their ritual observances; because the education of children commenced amongst the Mexicans; as with the Jews, at an exceedingly early age; because beating with a stick was a very common punishment among the Jews as well as among the Mexicans; because the priesthood of both nations was hereditary in a certain family; because both were inclined to pay great respect to unlucky omens, such as the screeching of the owl, the sneezino, of a person in company, and so forth; and because of a hundred other equally sound and relevant augments.     "There are many advocates for an Asiatic origin, both among ancient an d modern speculators. Favorable winds and currents, the short distance between islands, traditions both Chinese and Indian, refer the peopling of America to that quarter. Similarity in color, features, religion, reckoning of time, absence of a heavy board, and innumerable other comparisons are drawn on by enthusiastic advocates to support a Mongolian origin. The same arguments, in whole or in part, are used to prove that America was peopled by Ethiopians, by French, English, Trojans, Frisians, Scythians; and also that different parts were settled by different peoples. The test of language has been applied with equal weight and facility and enthusiasm to Egyptian, Jew, Phoenician, Carthaginian, Spaniard, Chinese, Japanese, and, in fact to nearly all the nations of the earth."


    It was once almost the general belief among "writers that a race called Mound-builders" originally populated this country; that they preceded the red men in right of possession; but of late it is being conceded that the Indian, the creature such as was found here in Dallas county by the original settlers, was 11 one of the Almighty's earliest pieces of handiwork."


    The Indian originally was utterly ignorant of the arts and stratagem of warfare, and even until this day and time they are less learned and skilled in the art of military tactics or modern warfare. When he first entered into battle with the white man fortifications of any kind were unknown to him. Rocks, trees, bluffs or anything by chance be might come across to ward off danger, was sought out by him in time of battle.
   It is supposed that when he came in battle with the , "Mound-Builders" his only weapon was a club; but suffice it to say that he soon, by that keen perception characteristic of his race, learned from his more intelligent adversary how to make and use the bow and arrow.
   Some writers have contended that the Indian by nature is not disposed to be warlike and cruel; that he originally lived in absolute peace with all about him; that be occupied himself chiefly in hunting wild game, roaming over mountains and hills, through the valley and the forests, or seated by the fire in winter or lying beneath the shades of some lovely bowers clustering on the banks of some silvery stream. Whether this theory be true or not, it has been found that the Indian is by nature more kind and sympathetic than has ever been attributed to him.
   The writer has ever had a feeling of sympathy for the red man, and in many respects the characteristics of this people are to be admired. In delineating the character of the Indian in a general manner, and as if he now populated this country, the eminent and most eloquent writer, Washington Irving, wrote the following, which we give that the reader, may better appreciate the red man as lie was originally,-yes, as he was by nature and before he was driven hither and thither and forced to fight for his life and possession:
   "There is a Peculiarity in the character and habits of the Indian, taken in connection with the scenery over which he is accustomed to ranch, - its vast lakes, boundless forests, majestic rivers and trackless plains-that is to my mind wonderfully striking and sublime. He is formed for the wilderness as the Arab is for the desert. His nature is stern, simple and endearing; fitted to grapple with difficulties and to support privations. There seems but little soil in his heart for the growth of the kindly virtues; and yet if we would but take trouble to penetrate through that proud stoicism and habitual taciturnity that look upon his character from casual observation, we should find him linked to his fellow man of civilized life by more of those sympathies and affections than are usually ascribed to him."
   In discussing the character of the Indian, writers have been too proud to indulge in vulgar prejudice and passionate exaggeration, instead of the candid temper of true philosophy. They have not sufficiently considered the peculiar circumstances in which the Indians have been placed, and the peculiar principles tinder which they have been educated.
   "In general, no being acts more rigidly from rule than the Indian. His whole conduct is regulated according to some general maxims early implanted in his mind. The moral laws that govern him are, to be sure, but few; but then lie conforms to them all. The white man abounds in laws of religion, morals and manners, but how many does he violate."
   "It is claimed by many that the Indian bad no civil rights here in this country; that he must be treated as a brute; that such is his nature that he could not be treated otherwise; that with all the kind treatment given him the more traitorous and ungrateful he would become. Just such ideas were also entertained by some historians concerning the Mexicans; but the writer is glad to state, at a time when but little was known of the better class of the population of our noble sister country, that a kinder and a more affectionate heart could not be found than that possessed by some of the crude, rough Indians,-yes, such as were found in this section now Dallas county. When be would find you his friend his devotion was remarkable. The following touching words, once spoken by an Indian chief, strikingly exhibit this remarkable trait of character, found in the heart of almost all these Indians.
   "I appeal to any white man if ever he entered Logan's cabin hungry and he gave him not to eat; if ever lie came cold and naked and he clothed him not." Of course the wild, savage Indians were exceptions. Still the Indian race is like the colored race: the characteristics possessed by one tribe or class is possessed by all. Education ameliorates and civilizes to a certain extent, but does not change the characteristics peculiarly implanted in them by Divinity.


The rights of the Indian have been very little regarded and properly esteemed or appreciated by the white man in any section or country. He has been taken advantage of peace, and by stratagy has been the attitude of artful traffic," and his life or death has been regarded as that of a brute, of minor importance. The prejudice which existed in the primeval days among the pioneers exist to a certain extent at the present time; but, much to the credit of certain philanthroplic societies throughout the country at present, they have endeavored to ascertain the true characteristics and inward life of the different Indian tribes. Well has it been said and much to the honor not only ofour county and State governments, but also of our national government, that the American government has been indefatigable in its exertions to meliorate the situation of the Indians, and to introduce among them the art of civilization and civic and religious knowledge.
   Even among the savages there are some who are approachable, and can be influenced to humble subjection if properly managed. When disputed lords of the land, to go where they pleased, and do and act as they desire, unmolested, it was perfectly natural for them to fight against any intrusions; but on making known to them by kind and humane treatment, that the whites mainly did not desire to rob them, they have been known to exhibit a reasonable degree of reconciliation, and after they have become somewhat civilized have forcibly shown a spirit of kindliness and affection.
   But it is alleged that they are treacherous and unreliable as to any agreements they as a nation or a class of people might make. Concerning these characteristics, the much admired historian above quoted, says further:
   "A frequent ground of accusation against the Indians is their disregard to treaties, and
the treachery and wantonness with which, in times of apparent peace, they will suddenly fly to hostilities. The intercourse of the white men with the Indians, however, is too apt to be cold, distrustful, oppressive and insulting; they seldom treat them with that confidence and frankness which is indispens-able to real friendship; nor is a sufficient caution observed not to offend against those feelings of pride or superstition, which often prompt the Indian's hostility quicker than there consideration of interest. The solitary savage feels silently, but acutely. His sensi-bilities are not diffused over so wide a surface as those of the white man; but they run in steadier and deeper channels. His pride, his affections, his superstitions are all directed toward fewer objects; but the wounds inflicted on them are proportionably severe, and furnish motives of hostility which we cannot sufficiently appreciate. Where a community is also limited in number, and forms one great patriarchal family, as in an Indian tribe, the injury of an individual is the injury of the whole; and the sentiment of vengeance is almost instantaneously diffused. One council fire is sufficient for the discussion and arrangement of a plan of hostilities. Here all the fighting men and sages assemble. Eloquence and superstition combine to inflame the minds of the warriors. The orator awakens their martial ardor, and they are wrought up to a kind of religious desperation by the visions of the prophet and the dreamer. The story where some planters had plundered the grave of the sachem's mother of some skins, with which it bad been decorated, is an instance of one of those sudden exasperations, arising from a motive peculiar to the Indian character, as exhibited in the primeval days.
   "The Indians were remarkable for the reverence which they entertained for the sepulchres of their kind.  Influenced by this sublime and holy feeling, the sachem whose mother's tomb had been violated gathered his men together and addressed them in the following beautifully simple and pathetic harangue, a curious specimen of Indian eloquence and an affecting instance of filial piety in the savage:
   "When last the glorious light of all the sky was underneath this globe, the birds grew silent and I began to settle down, as my custom is, to take repose. Before mine eyes were fast closed me thought I saw a vision at which my spirit was much troubled, and trembling at the sight a spirit cried aloud: Behold, my son, whom I have cherished. See the breast that gave tbee suck, the bands that lapped thee warm and fed thee oft. Canst thou forget to take revenge upon those wild people who have defaced my monument in a despiteful manner, disdaining our antiquities and honorable customs? See, now, the sachem's grave lies like the common people, defaced by an ignoble race. Tby mother doth complain and implores thy aid against this thievish people who have newly intruded on our land. If this be suffered I shall riot rest quiet in my everlasting habitation.
   "This said, the spirit vanished, and I, all in a sweat, not able scarce to speak. began to get some strength, and recollected my spirits that were fled, and determined to demand your counsel and assistance.
   "This anecdote represents bow acts of bostility suddenly kindled in the breasts of these people, which have been attributed to caprice or perfidy, did often arise from deep and generous motives, which inattention to Indian character and custorns prevent our properly appreciating." -


There is another condemnable charaeteristic in the nature of the Indian, in the eyes of a great many, and that is a cowardliness, such as lead him to slip around and stab in the back. Of this element in his nature the beautiful writer from whom we quoted above says:
   " We have stigmatized the Indians also as cowardly and treacherous because they use stratagem in warfare in preference to open force; but in this they are fully justified by their rude code of honor. They were early taught that stratagem is praiseworthy; the bravest warrior thills it was no disgrace to lurk in silence and take every advantage of his foe; he triumphed in the superior craft and sagacity by which he had been enabled to surprise and destroy an enemy. Indeed, man is naturally more prone to subtlety than open valor, owing to his physical weakness ill comparison with other animals, which are endowed with natural weapons of defense,with horns, with tusks, with hoofs and talons; but man has to depend on his superior sagacity. In all his encounters with these, his proper enemies, he resorts to stratagem; and when he perversely turns his hostility against his fellow-mau he at first continues the same subtle mode of warfare.
   "The natural principle of war is to do, the most harm to our enemy with the least harm to ourselves, and this of course is to be effected by stratagem. The chivalrous courage which induces us to despise the suggestions of prudence, and to rush in the face of certain danger, is the offspring of society and produced by education. It is honorable because it is in fact the triumph of lofty sentiment over an instinctive repugnance to pain, and over those yearnings after personal ease and security which society has condemned as ignoble. It is kept alive by pride and the fear of shame; and thus the dread of real evil is overcome by the superior dread of an evil which exists but in the imagination. It has been cherished and stimulated also by various means. It has been the theme of spirit-stirring song and chivalrous story. The poet and minstrel have delighted to shed round it the splendors of fiction; and even the historian has forgotten the sober gravity of narration, and broken forth into enthusiarm and rhapsody in its praise. Triumph and gorgeous pageants have been its reward; monument.s, on which art has exhausted its skill, opulence and treasures, have been erected to perpetuate a nation's gratitude and admiration. Thus artificially excited, courage has risen to an extraordinary and factitious degree of heroism, and arrayed in all the glorious pomp and circumstance of war. This turbulent quality has even been able to eclipse many of those quiet but in valuable virtues which silently ennoble the burnan and swell the tide of human happiness.
   "But if courage intrinsically consisted in defiance of danger and pain, the life of the Indian is a continual exhibition of it. He lives in a state of perpetual hostility and risk. Peril and adventure are concrenial to his nature, or rather seem necessary to arouse his faculties and to give an interest to his existence. Surrounded by hostile tribes, whose inode of warfare is by ambush and surprisal, he was always prepared for fight and lived with his weapoati in his hands. As the ship careens in fearful sinoleness throavh the attitudes of ocean, as the bird mingles among clouds and storms, and wings its way a mere speck across the pathless fields of air, so the Indian held his course, silent, solitary, but undaunted through the boundless bosom of the wilderness. His expeditions might have vied in distance and danger with the pilgrimage of the devotee, or the crusade of the knight errant. He traversed vast forests and plains, exposed to hazards of lonely sickness, of lurking enernies, and pining famine. His very subsistence is snatched from the midst of toil and peril. He gained his food by the hardships and dangers of the chase; he wrapped himself in the spoils of the bear, the panther and the buffalo, and sleeps atnonor the thunders of the cataract.
   "No hero of ancient or modern days could surpass the Indian in his lofty contempt of death, and the fortitude with which he sustai ned its crueleit affliction. Indeed, we here behold him rising superior to the white man in consequence of his peculiar education. The latter rushes to glorious death at the cannon's mouth, the former calmly contemplating its approach and triumphantly endures it, amidst the varied torments of surrounding foes and the protracted agonies of fire. He even takes a pride in taunting his persecutors, and provoking their ingenuity of torture; and as the devouring flames prey on his very vitals, and the flesh shrinks from the sinews, he raises his last song of triumph, breathing the defiance of an un conqnered heart, and invoking the spirits of his fathers to witness that he dies without a groan.
   "Notwithstanding the obloquy with which the early historians have overshadowed the charters of the unfortunate Indians, some bright gleams occasionally break through which throw a degree of melancholy on their memories.


    It is said that two classes of Indians principally occupied, roamed and hunted through this section of country now known as Dallas county, the Tonkawa and the nomadic tribes. The Tonkawa is said to have been much more mild-mannered and civilized than the nomadic. So considerate was Placidio, chief of the Tonkawas, that it is said he refuse to join the side of the Union army during the civil war of the United States, as he said he could not fight against Texas, where he and his tribe had always lived. The nomadic tribes were inclined to he more treacherous and warlike. Any one who seemed to intrude upon their hunting ground for buffalo, which was their game here when the white settlers first entered this section, now Dallas county, was always most ferociously attacked. As stated, the general character of all tribes of Indians is the same. Some are more civilized than others, and of course there is a difference in their mode and manner of living. In regard to their personal appearance, habits, employments, dress, food, manners, customs and so forth, we give the following compilation made by one of our historians. Their persons were generally tall, straight and well proportioned, their skins of the well known and peculiar tint. In constitution they were firm and vigorous, and capable of sustaining great fatigue and hardship.
   As to their general character they were quick of apprehension and not wanting in genius, at times being friendly and even courteous. In council they were distinguished for gravity and a certain eloquence; in war for bravery and stratagem. When provoked to anger they were sullen and retired, and when determined upon revenge no danger wonld deter them; neither absence nor time could cool them. If captured by an enemy they would never ask quarter, nor would they betray emotions of fear even in view of the tomahawk or of the kindling fagygot.
   Education amongst these rude savages of course had no place, and their only evidence of a knowledge of letters was in a few hieroglyphics. The arts they taught their young were war, hunting, fishing and the making of a few articles, most of which, however, being made by the females.
   Their language was rude but sonorous, metaphorical and energetic, being well suited to public speaking, and when accompanied by the impassioned gestures and attended with the deep guttural tones of the savage, it is said to have had a singularly wild and impressive effect. They had some few war songs, which were little more than unmeaning choruses, but it is believed they never had any other compositions which could be called such or were worthy of preservation.
   Their manufactures were confined to the construction of wigwams, bows, arrows, wampum, ornaments, stone hatchets, mortars for pounding corn, the dressing of skins, weaving of coarse mats from bark of trees or a wild hemp, and of making ornamental toys with beads.
   The articles they cultivated were few in number, Ñ corn, beans, peas, potatoes, melons, and a few other products.
   Their skill in medicine was confined to a few simple preparations and operations. Cold and warm baths are said to have been employed, and a considerable number of plants were used. For diseases they knew but little remedy, having recourse to their medicine men, who treated their patients by means of sorcery. They had few diseases, however, in comparison with those prevailing among civilized peoples.
   The women prepared the food, took charge of the domestic concerns, tilled the scanty fields, and performed all tile drudgery connected with the camp.
   Amusements prevailed to some extent, and consisted principally of leaping, running, shooting at targets, dancing and gaming. Their dances were usually performed around a large fire, and in those in honor of war they sang or recited the feats which they or their ancestors had achieved, represented the manner in which they were performed, and wrought themselves tip to a wild degree of enthusiasm. The females occasionally joined in some of the sports, but had none peculiar to themselvee.
   Their dress was various. In summer they wore little besides a covering about the waist, but in winter they clothed themselves in the skins of wild beasts. Being exceedingly fond of ornaments, on days of festivities, the sachems wore mantles of doe skins embroidered with shells or the claws of birds, and were painted with various devices. Hideous was the object aimed at in painting themselves, which was intended to strike terror into the hearts of their enemies.
   In the construction of their habitations the Indians exercised but little judgment, their huts or wigwams consisting of a strong pole erected in the center, around which other poles were driven obliquely in the ground and fastened against the center pole at the top. These were covered with bark of trees, and were but poor shelters when considering the amount of material to be obtained in primitive forests.
   The domestic utensils did not extend beyond a hatchet of stone, a few shells and sharp stones which they used as knives; stone mortars for preparing their corn, and mats and skins to sloop on. They sat, ate and lodged upon the ground, and their food was of the simplest and coarsest kind, consisting of the flesh and even the entrails of birds and beasts, in addition to the few garden products they raised.
   Their money, called wampum, consisted of small particles of shells, strung on bells and in chains. They rated the value of wampum by its color: black, blue, white, purple.
   Except when roused by some strong excitement, the men were indolent, taciturn and unsocial; tile women too degraded to think of little else than toil. Their language, though energetic, was barren of words, and in order to be understood and felt it required the aid of strong and animated gestures.


    The savage Indians have no definite form of government. What government is established by those less savage is an absolute monarchy: the will and command of the sachem is their law. While his decisions are absolute and final he sometimes honors the older numbers of his tribe by calling upon them for advice and counsel. This is said to be very seldom, however. One praiseworthy characteristic of the more civilized and sometimes of the savage, is that, when one of their number undertakes to address an assemblage among themselves, the utmost deference is paid to the speaker and profound silence reigns supreme. This characteristic was so striking to one of the early writers that he says of them:
   "When propositions for war or peace were made or treaties proposed to them by the colonial governors, they met the embassadors in council, and at the end of each paragraph or proposition the principal sachem delivered a short stick toone of his council, intimating that it was his peculiar duty to remember the paragraph. After their deliberations were ended, the sachem or some counselors to whom he bad delegated the office, replied to every paragraph in its turn, with an exactness scarcely exceeded in written correspondence of civilized power, each man remembering exactly what was committed to him, and be imparting it to the one entrusted in reply to the propositions or other matters of debate."


    The ideas of religion entertained by the tribes of Indians that circulated through Dallas county were evidently similar to those entertained by all the other Indian tribes. They were said to believe in two Great Spirits, a Good Spirit and an Evil Spirit. They paid homage to both, and like all others of their kind constructed images after their conception of their deities. They also were found to possess a remarkable reverence for all the great elements of nature, and imagined, as in the days of mythology, that these forces possessed intelligence and some great power; as to the sun, lightning, thunder, whatever was mysterious to them, they with awe bowed their knee in reverence.
   These Indians, the Tonkawas and nomadic tribes, were very harassing to the earlier settlers of Dallas county. After they bad been driven from the county they would often slip in among the settlers and steal their horses and pilfer and destroy their property, and when an opportunity presented itself would murder the citizens.
   An instance of their murderous deeds is recorded as late as 1841. During the fall of 1841, these early settlers had sent a man with a wagon to a place on Red river, then the most accessible point to secure what provision was wanted.
   This party was delayed longer than was expected, and three of the citizens, namely, Solomon Silkwood, Ramp Rattan and Alexander W. Webb (now living at Mesquite, in Dallas county), leaving their crude homes, went out to hunt for the wagon. They had gone only a short distance, only to the east side of Elm Fork, near which point the little town of Carrollton in Dallas county is now situated, when they undertook to fell a tree which was believed to contain honey, and while engaged in doing so Rattan was killed by a squadron of Indians concealed in the brush. One or two of the Indians were killed by Webb and Silkwood, then they escaped to reach their homes in safety and convey the sad news of the murder of their companion. From the exposure endured on this trip, as it was exceedingly cold, the snow being at least six or eight inches deep, Silkwood was stricken down with sickness and died after lingering only a short time. After this one of these brave pioneers entered the hunt alone for this relief wagon, and on passing by this place, made sad by the killing of their esteemed citizen, Rattan's faithful dog was found guarding the dead body of his kind master!

(Transcribed by Dorman Holub from John Henry Brown's Memorial & Biographical History of Dallas County, Lewis Publishing Co., Chicago,, 1892. Permission to reproduce this transcription must be obtained from Dorman Holub)