Charles Frederick Holder.

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"'Comanchesl Comancheal The
Coniaiiches are coming ! '

"Then the Comanche* came in

sight ; many, many of them, spread
out in ten long rows, and riding hard
toward us. As there were but seven
of us we turned and ran, letting our
pack horses go where they would, as
it would have put us in danger to
try to keep them. When we had rid-
den for about the distance of three
miles, we saw ten men of our own
people riding toward us, and we v.
very glad, and we ran our horses to
meet them. I had but a bow and
arrows, but my bow was good and my
arrows had points of steel. Only one
of all our people had a gun, as that
was before the time many Indians had
guns. Almost as soon as we reached




our ten friends the Comanches were
upon us. There was no place to run,
as our horses were tired ; we had
but one gun ; we were very few and
the Comanches were very many, but
I knew we had to fight, and I rode
up and down before the Utes and I
said to them :

"'Utes, now has come our time
to die. We cannot run from the
Comanches. We have but one gun ; we
are but seventeen men and they are a
great many, and they will kill us all.
But we will fight bravely, and we will
die together like men and Utes. But
before we die, many Comanches must
die. Come, be of brave hearts, be
brave men, and let us fight and die
so bravely that our people will for-
ever speak to their children of how
brave we were. Our people have
fought the Comanches always, the
Comanches have killed many of onr
friends, they have stolen many of our
horses, they have taken many of
our women, and now before we die
let every man pay off his debt to the
Comanches for the wrongs they have
done us. When the Comanches kill
one of us, then let us try to kill three
Comanches. When we are all killed
but two, let those two stand side by
side and fight. And when the Utes
are all killed but one, let that last
one die killing Comanches. If the
Comanches kill your horse from un-
der you, stand on the ground and
fight ; if they break one of your legs,
stand on the other leg and fight ; if
they break both your legs, lie on the
ground and kill Comanches until you
are too weak to put an arrow to your
bow. Come, be brave, let us fight
like Utes ! '

' ' Then were my men of good hearts
— they were Utes, they were brave, and
I had cheered them although I was
not yet a chief. Then the chief who
was with us told me to command the
fight. We could not live always, we
must die some time, and I believed
that in that fight we would all die,
but no fear was in my heart, nor has
fear ever been in my heart.

1 ' Then the Comanches came close
to us, and they rode up and down
before us, calling to us and telling us
our time had come to die. Then they
shot a great volley at us, and in less
than the beating of a heart we had
shot back at them, and all the time
we were very close together. Their
first shots killed one of our horses,
and their next shots killed one of our
men who w r as a good friend to me,
and then we called out to them :

■ ' ' You Comanche dogs, you eaters
of dogs, we will kill you all ! '

"Then the fight was fast and hard
and hot, and we fought for many
hours, fighting until the sun was
almost gone. My men fought like
men who fear nothing, and they w r ere
so brave and so mad with anger that
the great band of Comanches became
afraid, and after we had killed some
of them they turned and ran from us
like cowards. We were brave men,
we had good poo- kan tt\ and so well
did we fight that but one of us was
killed, although more were hurt.

'' When the fight was over we were
worn out, for we had had no water all
day. We tied our horses to pegs and we
threw ourselves on the ground and
slept until the sun came up, and then
we buried our dead friend and killed
a horse over his grave, so that he
might have a horse in the Happy
Hunting Grounds.

1 ' Then we rode in sorrow to our
camp, and our people grieved because
one of us was dead, and the women
relations of the dead man cut off their
hair and wailed in sorrow- for many
days, and all our men met together
and swore to kill any Comanches they
might meet."

The following extracts from the
chiefs conversations are inserted here
because they throw some light upon
the relations of the white and red
races, viewed from an Indian's stand-

"The way the times are now has
made me many troubled thoughts.
I am now too old to learn like the
white men, and I was not born soon




enough to live out all my
life like the Utes of the old
time lived. I once thought
the white people were very
bad people and that they
did much wrong ; and the
whites thought the Indians
were very bad people and
did much wrong. But I
think different now, for I
understand more of the laws
that came from the God.
Long, long time ago our
god put us on earth and
told us to fight, to hunt,
and to take from each other
in war. Your god put the

mericans on earth to
arm, to read in books, and
to know many more things
than the Indians know.
The reason the white men
know so much is because
their god gave them the
power. The Indians did as
their god told them ; the
white men did as their god
told them ; but the white
men did not understand the Indians,
and the Indians did not understand
the white men, and they were enemies.
Your laws say : ' If a man kill he
shall be taken ; ' our laws do not
say so. Your laws say one thing, our
laws sa3 r another thing, and we have
not understood each other. But I
believe that the white men's laws are
good for the white men, and the Indian
laws good for the Indian, and that
when the white men and the Indians
understand more of each other they
will no longer hate each other. I be-
lieve that when all peoples know what
God meant they will all be friends
with each other ; all Indians, — the
Utes, the Navajoes, the Comanches,
the Arapahoes — and the Americans,
the Mexicans, and the black people."

This chief, his words accompanied
by the most eloquent gestures, and
emphasized with flashing eyes,


told me many strange, wild tales
of his people, tales of murder and
bloodshed, with no idea that the deeds
were wrong; but he also told me many
thoughts lie had upon the future of his
people, upon their relations with the*
whites, and of things a semi- savage
Indian would not be supposed to
think about.

The Utes are a little nation, and are
recognized as such by the govern-
ment. They have their own rulers,
their own priests, their own laws, their
simple manufactures and their limited
pastimes. They are of interest as bring
a people of to-day who live according
to the savage customs of a thousand
years ago. They are almost savage
as yet, but within a few years their
customs will have undergone many
changes, and they will have hen-
parties to the great scheme of Amer-
ican civilization.



CALIFORNIA is a state of great
possibilities. Its development
is only in its infancy. Enough
has already been done, however, to
show that the State in its entirety is
capable of producing almost everything
known in the vegetable or mineral
kingdoms. And as the years roll on,
each season brings to light some new
and strange discovery going to show
that her resources are well-nigh inex-

Indiscriminate propagation has had
more to do with the tardy develop-
ment of the products of the State than
all other causes combined. The
climate and soil are present, but the
experience is lacking, and there is too
great hurry indulged in to bring
about a proper development. The
virtue to ' ' make haste slowly ' ' has
never been a distinguishing character-
istic of the average Californian, who
is, as a rule, more anxious to
realize quantity than to develop qual-
ity, and for this reason a false idea
exists, both at home and abroad, with
reference to the products of the State.
Whenever a superior quality of fruit
is produced it is shipped east, and
the consumers there imagine that
their purchases represent the average,
if not the entire crop of the State.
The eastern visitor being compelled
to put up with the inferior stock left
for the home market, exclaims :
' ' Why, this is not like the California
fruit we get in the East, ' ' and thus a
false impression is produced at both
ends of the line, which is detrimental
to our home interests. Time will cor-
rect this evil, and already the consci-
entious growers of the State are labor-
ing to effect that end.

Of all branches of horticulture so
far experimented upon in California,
there is probably no one so little

understood as the culture of walnut
trees. Many causes have operated to
bring about this effect. More than
forty years ago the ' ' L,os Angeles ' '
walnut, so called from the fact that it
was first cultivated at the old mission
of that name, was introduced, but
owing to the fact that it is the most
delicate variety of walnut, its indis-
criminate propagation was not an
unqualified success.

By constant propagation from the
seed, it has been allowed to deteriorate
until its cultivation is a barren waste
of time, and the tree occupies a place
that should be used for something of
a more profitable nature. And yet
this same barren tree can be grafted
into a Prceparturien, or other variety,
and made very profitable. By itself
it blooms irregularly, and is therefore
unreliable as a bearer, and is extreme-
ly tender as a plant. The Juglans
regia, as the English walnut is
known to botanists, is unisexual,
bearing both the staminate and the
pistilate flowers. It is a native of
Persia and Himalaya, and was culti-
vated by th -z Romans during the reign
of Tiberius, B. C, forty-two 3'ears.
It is at this time being extensively
cultivated throughout Southern Eu-
rope, and does well even in England,
although in that trying climate it
does not begin to bear until it has
attained its twenty-fifth year. It
grows to a height of from sixty to one
hundred feet. There are many vari-
eties, not all equally profitable, and
with regard to the propagation of
which there are as many opinions
expressed as there are growers, on the
one hand, and varieties of soil and
climate, on the other.

Mr. Ellwood Cooper, of Santa
Barbara, is of the opinion that the
area of land suitable for successful




walnut growing in this State is very
limited. lie says: "It requires
well drained, deep, sandy bottom land,
well protected, and where no live
oak trees have grown within the last
century. Kvery where where the live
oak has been recently rooted out the
walnut tree will die about the time it
bears the second crop, perhaps earlier.
The second, planted to replace, will
die in abput the fifth year ; the third,
in the first, second or third year. I
doubt if any fruit trees will do well
where an oak forest has recently
existed. The Elder Pliny, in his
natural history written nearly two
thousand years ago, speaks of this
fact existing on the northern coast of
the Mediterranean, and cautions plant-
ers from attempting fruit growing
where an oak forest has recently ex-

Mr. Felix Gillett, of Nevada City,
returns a vigorous protest against
theories advanced by Mr. Cooper. He
says : ' ' The idea that walnut culture
in California is possible only in those
little valleys bordering the sea in
Southern California, is, I must say, a
preposterous and erroneous one. * * *
Now I do strongly object, in the pres-
ence of facts to the contrary, to the
above banishing of walnut culture
from nine-tenths of the area of the
State of California ; and I do not care,
either, what Pliny said two thousand
years ago on that subject, but will cite
an instance that will set at naught the
theory that walnuts will not do well
1 where an oak forest has recently
existed.' That walnuts will grow
more luxuriantly and bear larger crops

I at comparatively earlier age in deep
and rich bottom land, well drained,
well protected, and with plenty of
moisture, is an obvious fact ; though
there arises another question — whether
it is advisable to plant walnuts, a class
of trees requiring so much space and
with so little regard to the nature of
the soil, in our richest land, so well
adapted to the growing of other val-
uable crops that have absolutely to be

in walnut culture — and for twenty
years I have imported, propagated
and fruited, all the leading varieties
of Europe, besides having collected a
large amount of data on that subject
from nut-growing countries — warrants
me in saying that walnut culture can
be successfully carried on on the whole
Pacific coast, provided we plant none
but hardy kinds ; in fact, the success
of walnut culture in California lies
exclusively in the hardiness of the
kinds to be planted."

Before entering upon the details of
walnut raising in this State, the
advice given by some of the more
prominent growers will be found to be
interesting and instructive reading.
Mr. G. W. Ford, of Santa Ana, says:
1 ' Before you plant a walnut orchard,
see that you have good, rich, deep,
valley soil, with first-class water facil-
ities, or do not expect such promising
returns as I or my neighbors in
Orange County have had. I don't
recommend planting a walnut orchard
if you have poor soil, but something
that will come off the ground early in
the season. Certainly your land need
not be anything extra, but I say that
on almost any land where com can be
grown without any irrigation, e
daily in the southern part, a good
quality of walnut can be raised with-
out artificial means of watering. " Mi.
Ford winds up an interesting paper on
the " Culture of the Soft-shelled Wal-
nut," by extending a general invita-
tion to all concerned to pay a visit to
his orchard in Santa Ana, adding, "and
I will show him there an orchard
which will satisfy the most skeptical
that a soft-shell walnut orchard
paying investment."

Mr. A. Donnan, of Rivera, says :
"I think that if the (planting of)
corn, and irrigation were left out after
the first three years, and the land
given clean and thorough cultivation,
it would be more profitable for the
owners. Shallow cultivation is advo-
cated by the most successful walnut
growers in the valley. * * * The
experience of the past season has had

5 o8


a strong tendency to increase the pop-
ularity of the hard-shell walnut. * * *
I believe the practice of sulphuring is
injurious to the flavor of the nut, and
hope it will soon be discontinued with
the hard-shell, as has already been
done with the soft-shell."

Mr. Felix Gillett says : ' ' My advice
in regard to foreign varieties of wal-
nuts is that where the Los Angeles or
common walnut of California does
badly, people should not hesitate a
moment to plant them (the foreign
variety) as being so much superior
and more hardy. * * * It is as
easy to grow fine nuts as poor ones,
and certainly more profitable."

Mr. Ellwood Cooper says : ' ' My
advice to those anticipating walnut
growing is — first visit the various
localities and profit by the experience
of those now engaged in the business.
* * * Trees will die, apparently
without a cause, and the planter, after
waiting ten or a dozen long years,
will be compelled to root them out
and try something else. One-half the
orchards planted will never be a

It is more than probable that the
planters have experimented with differ-
ent varieties of the nut, but one fact
is made manifest, and that is, that
under the best circumstances the cul-
tivation of the tree is difficult, and the
results not at all well assured. The
experiments in this State include a
wide range of variety. There are the
Praeparturiens, or Fertile walnut, the
Cluster, Mayette, Franguette, Paris-
ienne, Grenoble, Serstina, Chaberte,
Gant, Mesange, or Paper-shell, Vourey,
Meylan, Culong, Weeping walnut,
Ash-leaved walnut, Mammoth walnut,
the last three mentioned varieties be-
ing of the fancy kinds, and many
others not here classified. Each has
some special characteristic. Some
bear nuts of extraordinary size and
fine shape. Some are wonderfully fer-
tile and precocious. Some are so late
in their budding that they are able to
withstand the late frosts in the spring
that effect nine-tenths of the entire

area of the State. In some varieties
the male flowers or catkins, as they
are called, drop off before the female
flowers or nuts have had a chance to
show themselves, and as a consequence
the nuts, not having a chance to be
fertilized, by the pollen or yellow dust
secreted by the catkins, drop off after
attaining the size of a large pea.

The favorite method of propagation
in California, and the one that has
insured the greatest success, is to
plant the nut in the spring of the
year, in nursery form. The best soil
is a sandy loam, well cultivated to a
depth of about six inches. Let the
nursery rows be four feet apart, and
the nuts one foot apart in the row.
The first year those nuts that are fer-
tile and sprout, will attain a height of
from six inches to a foot ; the second
year they will grow to a height of
from eighteen inches to three feet, and
the third year they will attain a height
of five or six feet. This is a proper
time for transplanting. First, prepare
your ground carefully, by deep plow-
ing and pulverizing. Plant forty feet
apart, which will allow twenty-seven
trees to the acre. Let the trees slant
somewhat towards the direction from
which the prevailing winds come.
Prune constantly while the tree is
young. The branches grow rapidly,
and are apt to bear down with their
own weight, or break off during high
winds, and thus destroy the symmetry
of the tree. The trunk should be kept
free from limbs, for a distance of five
or six feet from the ground, and earth
should be kept away from the trunks;
and if the top roots are exposed, so
much the better, as it will assist the
tree "in breathing." If the trees,
however, have been planted in proper
soil, and well cared for, they will
begin to bear when they are eight
years old, and in ten years from the
time of transplanting, they will yield
a handsome return.

The most careful cultivation is nec-
essary ; and after the fifth year nothing
should be grown between the rows.
There are planters who will controvert



this theory, and contend that partial
cultivation, planting peanuts or pota-
toes, if not positively beneficial, will
not prove injurious, but the prevailing
opinion appears to be that the orchard
should be kept clean, but not culti-
vated. A good plan is to plant an
orange tree in the center of every four
walnut trees. This will give twenty-
seven trees of each kind to the acre,
and if three-year-old walnuts are
planted, and the trees are properly
cared for, the owner will begin to reap
rewards in about three years more.
The walnut, being covered with heavy
foliage, will protect the orange from
the cool, coast winds that prevail
during the summer, and during the
winter season, being stripped of their
summer robe, the sun will have full
play on the ripening oranges. Oranges
grown along the coast will be vastly
improved by this means, and will be
made to more closely approximate the
lusciousness of the fruit grown further

The tree having attained its matur-
ity, we next look at its productiveness
and the profit to be derived from it as
a bearer. Instances are on record of
eight-year-old improved soft-shell wal-
nut orchards, averaging one hundred
pounds to the tree. The average
prices of the nuts sold were from ten
to fifteen cents a pound. At ten
cents, the trees would yield ten dol-
lars each per year, or two hundred and
seventy dollars an acre. This would
be ten per cent on two thousand seven
hundred dollars, or say, a good inter-
est on one thousand dollars an acre
after all of the expenses of cultivating,
irrigating, etc., are allowed. Some
years the minimum price here men-
tioned cannot be had, but the returns
have not been discouraging. In 1888,
sixteen carloads of hard-shells, bring-
ing seven cents a pound, and one car-
load of soft-shells, bringing nine cents
a pound, were snipped from Rivera.

In 1889, thirty-two carloads of hard-
shells, which brought seven and one-
half cents a pound, and two carloads
of soft-shells, which brought eight and

one-half cents a pound, were shipped
from the same place, the returns this
year for the entire lot having been
about forty-five thousand dollars.
The soft, or paper-shell nut, is finely
flavored, but it is not a good grower.
The nuts are small and being extreme-
ly delicate, are difficult to ship. For
family use, on a small lot, and for
close planting, the paper-shell will
give good satisfaction ; this is espe-
cially the case with the "Improved
Soft-shell Walnut. ' ' But as a certainty,
and as a matter of profit exclusively, it
is better to adhere to the hardy kinds.
Even after they cease to bear they are
profitable. An instance is recorded
of a walnut tree, grown from the seed,
which had, at the age of sixty years,
attained a diameter of four feet, which,
when cut up into lumber and seasoned,
realized four hundred dollars.

Grafting and budding the varieties
of walnut are growing in favor, and
will eventually attain as great a
degree of popularity as the same
process with reference to other vari-
ties of fruits. Grafting is not as
easily performed as budding, nor is it
as likely to be a success. This is
principally attributable to the large
amount of pith to be found in the
shoots. The best way to graft is to
make a triangular incision in the side
of the stock, about an inch or an inch
and a half in length. The tree should
be about a year old at the time. Cut
out from the stock a triangular piece
of wood and insert a scion of the same
size. The scion should be taken from
the terminal shoots of the variety it is
desired to produce. Wrap this with
a piece of cloth, which must be waxed
over, and then cover the graft with
earth to within an inch or two of the
top of the scion. Do not make a cleft
in the stock, by splitting. Let the
cloth be waxed only where the cut is
exposed, so that in as short a time as
possible the parts not mixed may
decay and prevent the cloth from cut-
ting into the stock. Use a very sharp
knife and perform the operation late
in the spring, when the stocks have



begun to show signs of growth. Bud-
ding is easier. In removing the bud,
cut deep into the wood, so as to give
the bud as much bark as possible.
The bark should be about an inch and
a half from point to point. With the
sharp point of the grafting knife, gouge
out nearly all of the wood in the bud.
Insert this bud in a slit made in the
stock of the tree to be budded. Tie
tight with budding twine, and allow
it to remain thus for three weeks.
Then remove the string. As soon as
the bud begins to swell, cut the stock
back and allow the bud to grow.
After they have attained a year's
growth, they can be transplanted into
orchard form. The process is very
simple, but requires great care.

The English, or Madeira variety of
the nut, it is said, will become rancid,
if kept a year, no matter how much
care may be taken of them, but the
improved soft-shell will keep from two
to three years without undergoing any
unfavorable change. Collateral indus-
tries arising out of walnut culture are
the drying of the kernel and the man-
ufacture of walnut oil. In the city of
Paris, France, there are annually
consumed fifteen million pounds of
dried, and ten million pounds of fresh
nuts. Half of the oil used in France
is walnut oil, or three times as much
as of olive oil. One hundred pounds
of walnuts will yield eighteen pounds
of oil. Picking in that country costs
five cents a bushel, and the nuts vary
in price from one-half a cent to eight
cents a pound. The cheap grades are
those which are sent to the oil mills,
while the finer grades are shipped to
the market.

It will be some years before Cali-
fornia can expect to compete with
older countries in the profitable culture
of the walnut, but there is no reason
to be discouraged. It has been satis-
factorily demonstrated that the tree
can be profitably grown at an elevation
of three thousand feet. The develop-
ment of the industry is progressing in

Online LibraryCharles Frederick HolderThe Californian (Volume 4) → online text (page 68 of 120)