Prairie Farmer, Vol. 56: No. 4, January 26, 1884 online

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A Weekly Journal for





[Transcriber's Note: The Table of Contents was originally located on
page 56 of the periodical. It has been moved here for ease of use.]


AGRICULTURE - Raising Onions, Page 49; Royalist 3d, 4500, 49; Illinois
Tile-Makers' Convention, 50-51; Better Management Needed, 51; Seed Corn
from South, 51; Field and Furrow Items, 51.

LIVE STOCK - Items, Page 52; Herd Books and Records, 52; Competing for
Sweepstake Prizes, 52; Raising Young Mules, 52.

THE DAIRY - Wisconsin Dairymen, Page 53.

VETERINARY - Impaction of the Paunch, Page 53;

HORTICULTURE - Lessons of 1883, Page 54; Illinois Hort. Society, 54;
Diogenes in His Tub, 54-55; Possibilities of Cherry Growing, 55;
Prunings, 55.

FLORICULTURE - Gleanings by an Old Florist, Page 55.

EDITORIAL - Items, Page 56; The Cost of Cold Winds, 56; Good Work at
Washington, 56-57; Wisconsin Meetings, 57; Answers to Correspondents,
57; Wayside Notes, 57; Letter from Champaign, 57.

POULTRY NOTES - Chicken Chat, Page 58; Chicken Houses, 58; Items, 58.

FORESTRY - Items, Page 59.

SCIENTIFIC - Official Weather Wisdom, Page 59; A Remarkable Electrical
Discovery, 59; Items, 59.

HOUSEHOLD - Christian Charity (Poetry), Page 60; Items, 60; The Night
Cap, 60; How to Treat a Boy, 60; Pamphlets, Etc., Received, 60; Compiled
Correspondence, 60.

YOUNG FOLKS - Jule Fisher's Rescue, Page 61.

LITERATURE - Between the Two Lights, Poem, Page 62; The Two Overcoats,

HUMOROUS - Bait of the Average Fisherman, Page 63; Whose Cold Feet, 63;
Changed Relations, 63; It Makes a Difference, 63; Items, 63. Question
Answered, 53.


MARKETS - Page 64.


There are two causes of failure to make this crop uncertain. One is
because the soil is not kept clear of weeds, and the other is that it is
not properly enriched. To raise a good crop of onions requires a light,
loamy soil, worked into as fine a condition as possible, to render
cultivation easy.

The greater part of the preparation should be done in the fall, and
especially the application of the manure. Well rotted manure is the
best, and that which is free from grass, oats, or weed seeds, should
always be selected. Of course, if the manure is properly rotted the
vitality of the larger portion of the seed in it will be killed, but
unless this is done it will render the cultivation much more difficult.
Stiff, clayey, or hard, poor land can be made a great deal better for
the onion crop by a heavy application of ashes or well rotted bagasse. I
prefer to apply ashes as a top dressing in the spring, working it in the
surface, as I find by experience that they are not only valuable as a
fertilizer when used in this way, but are also of great benefit in
keeping down the weeds.

A plot of ground that is seeded with crab-grass should not be selected,
as the pulling up of the grass injures the growth of the onions. Onions
feed near the surface; in fact, the larger portion of the bulb grows on
top of the soil, and as a natural consequence the plant food should be
well worked in the surface. Of course it is too late now to talk about
fall preparation. If we want a crop of onions from seed this spring,
whatever preparation there is must be done between now and seeding. I
should plow or spade up the soil as soon as possible, if there is a thaw
out either the last of this or any part of next month.

If you can save up and rot a supply of poultry manure and leaves, you
can have the very best manure for a good onion crop.

Another important point in raising a good crop of onions is to have good
seed and sow it early. The first favorable time in the spring must be
taken advantage of, if you would have the best success with your crop.
As good seed is necessary in any crop, so it is with onions. Test your
seed before risking your entire crop, as by the time you plant once and
fail, and procure seed and plant again, it will be too late to make a
good crop. I always take advantage of the first chance in March to sow
my onion seed. We usually have a few warm days sometime about the middle
of the month when this work can be done. Of course I do not say that
this is the case every year. The first favorable opportunity should be
taken advantage of, is what I want to impress upon those who expect to
make a crop; let this time come when it will, any time early in the
spring. If the ground has been plowed or spaded well during the winter,
a good harrowing or raking should be given. If you have the poultry
manure, now is the best time to apply it, working it on top of the soil
with a rake. If you have not the poultry manure and have ashes, give a
good strong dressing of ashes, raking evenly over the surface. Mark off
in drills twelve inches apart, and not more than one inch deep; lay off
the drills as narrow and as straight as possible, and then drill the
seed evenly. Try to keep them in a straight row, as it will aid much in
the cultivation. Cover lightly, but press the soil firmly upon the seed.
They will withstand considerable cold, damp weather before rotting.

Last year I sowed my onion seed on the 23d of March; the next ten days
were cold, rainy, dark, dismal days, with two or three freezes. Yet my
onions came up all right and made a good crop.

As soon as the shoots make their appearance above the ground a good
raking with a fine steel rake can be given. This will give them a good
start and destroy the young weeds that will begin to make their
appearance at the same time. After the onions start to grow, cultivation
is the making of the crop, and the cleaner they are kept and the oftener
the surface is stirred the better will be the crop.

As to varieties, the old Red Wethersfield and the Danvers Yellow are my
favorites. The Yellow Strasburg is a good yellow variety, and there are
quite a number of others that are good. In cultivating I keep the
surface level, as they do better if kept in this way than if they are
hilled up. Thin out so that the plants do not crowd each other - they
should stand two or three inches apart - if you want large onions at


ROYALIST 3D, 4500.

[Illustration: Royalist 3^{rd} 4500

Elmwood Stock Farm


The bull Royalist 3d, 4500, here portrayed, stands at the head of the
superb Jersey herd owned by Col. Charles F. Mills, Springfield,
Illinois. He was bred by Mr. Samuel Stratton; dropped December 13, 1878;
got by imp. Royalist 2906; dam imp. Nelly 6456. Royalist 2906 received
the first prize over all Jersey in 1877; first prize and silver cup at
St. Saviour's Show in 1877; first prize at the great St. Louis Fair as
a three-year-old, and grand sweepstakes at St. Louis Fair in 1879 as the
best Jersey bull of any age. Her sire, Duke (76), won first prize over
the Island, Herd Book Parochial prize, and first Herd Book prize at
Royal Jersey Show in 1875. Merry Boy (61), I. H. B., grandsire of
Royalist 2906, won first prize at St. Mary's Show in 1874. Stockwell II
(24), I. H. B., great-great-grandsire of Royalist 2906, won third prize
over the Island and second Herd Book prize at the Royal Jersey Show,
1871; the bronze medal at the Channel Island Exhibition in 1871, and
third prize at the Royal Jersey Show in 1872.

Nelly, the dam of Royalist 3d, 4500, has produced 21 pounds of butter in
seven days since importation, and Mr. Stratton is authority for the
statement that she received the special prize at the Farmers' Club,
Island of Jersey, for the best butter cow, having made 16 pounds Jersey
weight of 18 ounces to the pound, or 18 avoirdupois pounds, in seven
days. Her sire, Lemon (170), is the grandsire of Mr. C. Easthope's
celebrated Nancy Lee 7618 (test 95 lbs. 3-1/2 oz. unsalted butter in 31
days), and Daisy of St. Peters 18175 (test 20 lbs. 5-1/2 oz. unsalted
butter in seven days).

Taking all things into consideration, we doubt if there is a better
Jersey bull in the world than Royalist 3d. Certainly he has no superior
in this country. Mr. Mills' Jersey herd is a model in all respects, and
the popular chief clerk in the State Agricultural rooms may well be
proud of it.

* * * * *

The Northwestern Importers' and Breeders' Association, Minneapolis,
Minn., have bought $20,000 worth of Fresian stock of the Unadilla
Company, West Edmeston, N. Y.

* * * * *



Farmers, Write for Your Paper.

Illinois Tile-Makers' Convention.


(_Continued from last week._)

An interesting feature of the proceedings of the Tile-Makers' Convention
was the brief reports of members regarding their business last year.
About forty manufacturers reported. In the majority of cases the demand
has been fair; in a few very brisk; in quite a number it was said that
sales could be made only at a reduction in prices. It was easy to see
that in some sections of the State the work of tile-making was overdone,
that is, the supply is in excess of the demand. It was the general
expression that prices could not be greatly reduced and leave a
reasonable profit to the manufacturer.


was the question this year. Last year at this convention the talk was
upon "How shall we supply the demand?" The answers to the question of
how to increase the demand were various. Some advocated a rigid
adherence to fair living prices, and thus teach farmers that it is
useless to wait for cheaper tile; make a first-class article and the
cheap tile that is hurting the trade will be forced out of the market.
There was a general advocacy of a wider dissemination of a knowledge of
the benefits of drainage. Show farmers and fruit-growers that they can
add new acres to their farms, and take from tiled land a sufficiently
increased yield the first year to pay for tiling, and that their land is
worth more dollars per acre after tiling than the expense amounts to,
and the demand will multiply many fold. Teach the farmers how to lay
their drains properly, so that no disappointment will result, and every
acre drained will advertise the profits from drainage. Circulate facts
in regard to drainage as contributed to the agricultural papers, and
even the newspapers. Subscribe for these papers and distribute them.
Circulate the essays read at tile-makers' conventions. Talk drainage
everywhere and at all times. These were among the means sensibly
advocated for increasing the demand for tile.


It is but recently that the manufacture of tile has been carried on in
winter, but now many establishments are running the year round. It was
not claimed that the business can be prosecuted as advantageously in
winter as in summer. But it gives employment to men, and the
manufactories are thus enabled to keep skilled labor always on hand. It
was thought that though the profits are small it is really better to run
in winter where there is a demand for tile. In most cases it is better
to make brick a portion of the year. There is always a demand for good
brick at paying prices. If it will not pay to produce all tile, or so
much tile as may be turned out, this will afford relief and keep the
machine in motion.


Mr. Billingsby, whose position allows him an excellent opportunity of
judging, said there has been rapid improvement in the machinery for
tile-making. Great advance has been made in machines for preparing clay,
especially in the rapidity of handling it. The buildings for drying tile
were a great deal better than five years ago. The means of ventilation
are becoming excellent. The kilns are better and can be more
satisfactorily managed. There is yet need for a cheaper tile
factory - one where the investment of only a few hundred dollars will


It was generally conceded that it is best to have some device at the end
of the drains to keep out rabbits, water animals, etc. Wires stretched
across did pretty well but must be carefully looked after to clear away
the roots and refuse that come through the drains. Two or three devices
to take the place of wire were exhibited and were generally thought to
be greatly superior.


An interesting feature of this convention was the introduction, for the
first time, of the discussion of tile ditching by machinery in a paper
prepared by Hon. F. Plumb, of Streator, Ill. Mr. Plumb has been
experimenting for several years with tile ditches, using both animal and
steam power. He gave it as his conclusion that the machine of the future
would be a machine that would perfect the ditch by one passage over the
ground. He has perfected and is now manufacturing a steam power machine,
at Streator, Ill., which is spoken of very highly by all who have seen
it at work in the field. Mr. Plumb claims that the machine will cut
twenty rods of three-foot ditch in an hour, and give a grade and finish
to the bottom of the ditch equal to the very best hand work. The
capacity of the machine is varied to any depth up to four feet, and for
any sized tile up to nine-inch. Two men can operate the machine. The
cost of cutting ditches, laying and covering tile is reduced to about
ten cents per rod. He has already sold several of his machines, and is
to be congratulated on the success he has attained in securing a good
tile ditcher. We can conceive of no one thing that will conduce to the
sale and use of tile so much as such a machine as the Plumb Steam Tile
Ditcher. The machine is indorsed by C. G. Elliott, of Tonica, Drainage
Engineer; by Mr. Pike, President of the convention, and others who have
seen it at work in the field.


There was nothing among the devices exhibited at this convention that
attracted more attention or received more favorable private comment than
a model of Chamberlin Brothers' Patent Apparatus for Tiling. The model
only was shown, but working machines are in operation in Iowa, and they
are giving excellent satisfaction, as attested by such men as Thos. B.
Wales, Jr., of Iowa City, and Daniel H. Wheeler, Secretary of the
Nebraska State Board of Agriculture. The apparatus is upon the old
principle of the mole ditcher requiring the same capstan power. One team
is sufficient to run it. The apparatus is composed of a beam or sill,
horizontal in position, and a coulter seven feet long at the rear end of
the beam, and perpendicular to it a spirit level attached to the beam,
aids in regulating. The coulter can be run anywhere from one to five
feet deep. The front end of the beam is provided with a mud or stone
boat to prevent sinking in the mud, and with a jack screw for regulating
on uneven ground. Attached to it, and following the mole, is a carrier
200 feet long, made concave in form. On this the tile are laid and
carried into the ground. A start is made at an open ditch or hole of
required depth; when the carrier is drawn in full length a hole is dug
just back of the coulter, two by three feet, down to the tile, a stop
placed in front of the tile, the machine is started which draws the
carrier from under the tile, when it is again located as before, and so
on. Different sized moles are used according to the size of the tile to
be laid. Any one can easily count up the advantages of this mode of
laying tile, provided the machine can do the work it is claimed to do,
and of this there seems to be no question, if we may believe the
testimony of those who have seen it in operation.


The following by Senator Whiting, of Bureau county, was read by the

Illinois is a good State as nature made her, and drainage is destined to
add wealth almost inestimable. Drainage enterprises are everywhere
seen - in extent from the small work beginning and ending in the same
field, to the levees of Sny Carte, and the canal-like channels through
the Winnebago swamps. Drainage is naturally divided into two classes:

1. Individual drainage, where the land-owner has his own outlet
independent of others.

2. Combined drainage where one can not drain without joining with

The smallest of these combined works is where two only are concerned.
The Hickory Creek ditch now in progress in Bureau and Henry counties is
thirteen miles long, has a district of about 15,000 acres, owned by over
seventy-five persons. This combined drainage partakes of the nature of
public works. For this class the constitution has been twice amended,
and many elaborate laws have been enacted. These laws have had their
vicissitudes, and are not yet free from complications. The first
drainage legislation commenced forty years ago, by a special act, to
drain some wet lands near Chicago. In 1859 two special acts were passed
for lands on the American bottoms. In 1865 a general act was passed. All
these enactments were under the constitution of 1848 which was silent on
drainage, and the courts annulled most of these as unconstitutional. In
1870 the new constitution was framed containing a brief provision on
drainage. The late Mr. Browning, a leading member of that convention,
drafted a drainage bill which was enacted into a law without change.
Large enterprises were organized and got well started; but again some
complaining person appealed to the courts, and this law too, was
declared too big for the constitution. The constitution was then
enlarged to meet if possible, the views of the court. Two elaborate laws
on the main question were passed in 1879, and these with several
amendments since made rest undisturbed on the statutes. One of these is
generally known as the "levee law," and the other as the "farm drainage
act." They cover nearly the same subject matter, and were passed to
compromise conflicting views. These laws relate to "combined drainage."
"Individual drainage" was not discussed. As the law does not undertake
to define how deep you may plow or what crop you shall raise, so it was
thought unnecessary to make any provisions about the drainage of your
own land.

COURT DECISION. - To the public surprise the Appellate court at Ottawa in
two decisions pronounced individual drainage unlawful. As this decision
is notable, and the subject of controversy, its history should be known.
In 1876, Mr. C. Pilgrim, of Bureau county, laid about sixty rods of
two-inch tile up a slight depression in his corn-field, discharging the
same under a box culvert in the public road. This depression continued
into a pasture field of Mr. J. H. Mellor, of Stark county, about
eighteen rods to a running stream. Mr. Mellor sued Mr. Pilgrim for
trespass, and the case was twice tried successively in the circuit
courts of Stark and Bureau counties. The juries each time decided for
Mr. Pilgrim, but the Appellate court each time reversed the decision;
and finally worried Mr. Pilgrim into yielding to a judgment of one cent
damages. The material part of that decision is as follows:

MELLOR VS. PILGRIM. - "The appellant had the right to own and possess his
land free from the increased burden arising from receiving the surface
water from the land of appellee through artificial channels made by
appellee, for the purpose of carrying the surface water therefrom more
rapidly than the same would naturally flow; and the appellant having
such right for any invasion thereof the law gives him an action. * * *
If, as we have seen, the appellee by making the drain in question
collected the surface water upon his own land and discharged the same
upon the lands of the appellant in increased quantity and in a different
manner than the same would naturally run, the act was unlawful because
of its consequences, and the subjecting of appellant's lands to such
increased and different burden than would otherwise attach to it, was an
invasion of appellant's rights from which the law implies damages, and
in such case proof of the wrongful act entitles the plaintiff to recover
nominal damages at least."

Under this decision it is not easy to see how a man can lawfully cut a
rod of ditch or lay tile on his own land, unless he can contrive some
way to stop the flow of water.

1. The lower man may recover without proving that he is damaged because
to drain is "wrongful."

2. Such drainage being a continuing trespass, subjects the perpetrator
to never ending law suits and foredoomed defeats.

3. The lower man may forbid you to drain, or exact such tribute as he
may dictate.

4. As the first man below must be consulted, why not the second, and how
far this side of the Gulf is the limit of this trespass?

Here, as I have elsewhere, I challenge this as bad law. It reverses the
order of nature, as well as custom, and can not be endured as the public
policy of Illinois. Let us contemplate the exact opposite principle. "A
land owner may drain his land for agricultural purposes by tile or open
ditch, in the line of natural drainage, into any natural outlet on his
own land or into any drainage depression leading to some natural

This proposition is generally regarded as self evident, but out of
respect to the court, let us give some of the considerations on which it

1. Improved agriculture is an element in civilization.

2. Drainage belongs to good agriculture, is extensively practiced and
must often precede the plow.

3. The surplus water can not be stored or annihilated, and the course of
drainage is indicated, in most places determined by nature, in the
drainage depressions which are nature's outlets.

4. The law of gravity, with or without man's work, is constant and
active in moving the waters to the lower level. The ditcher's art is to
remove the obstacles to a freer flow.

5. Excessive water is a foe to agriculture; and for the general good it
should be collected into channels, and as speedily as possible passed
along on its inevitable journey.

OBJECTIONS ANSWERED. - It is said to be a universal law maxim, "that you
may use your own as you will, but not to the detriment of your
neighbor," and that this principle forbids this kind of drainage. This
maxim may be general, but it is not universal. My neighbor may have
built his house and other domestic arrangements in the lee of a natural
grove of timber on my land. The removal of this grove may be a real
grievance by giving the wind too free a sweep; yet my right to change
this waste into a grain field will not be questioned. My warranty deed
is my right thus to improve my land, though it be "to the detriment of
my neighbor." He should have foreseen the contingency of a removal of
these woods. On like principles a land owner may remove an excess of
water so as to raise corn and not rushes. In the removal of woods my
neighbor may not have an immediate remedy for his ills, but the effect
of my ditches may be turned to good account by continuing them, and thus
improving his land as I have mine. My warranty deed is my right to
cultivate my own land, and this right carries the right to cultivate it
in the best manner. The lower man should have taken judicial notice that
water runs down hill, and that in this progressive age ditches may be
cut and tiles laid.

But it is said that this court decision follows the English Common law;
and now being settled by a decision, it is not open for further
consideration. In this progressive age nothing is settled until it is
settled right. Judge Taney once judicially settled the status of the
African race. The common law was held to forbid the bridging of
navigable streams. Harbors could only be made where the water was salt
and affected by the tides. The Dartmouth college decision was held to so
cover railroad corporations as to shield them from legislative control.
These have all been overturned by the march of events, and this
Appellate court decision is not necessarily immortal. For fifty years
the farmers of Illinois knew no such rule. The public roads have been
improved by side ditches which dropped the water into the first
depression. In 1873 there was placed in the road law a provision that a
land owner may drain on the public road by giving timely notice, and
this stands through all revisions. Blackstone in his commentaries does
not class this kind of drainage as a nuisance or trespass to lower

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Online LibraryVariousPrairie Farmer, Vol. 56: No. 4, January 26, 1884 → online text (page 1 of 12)