The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Breaking News


September 9, 2013

Marquis Childs, Journalist


Elsewhere, he wrote, “Early pioneers began to realize that God had been indeed very good to them. To the north, incredible stands of pine --- so large that man could never exhaust them (but they did); to the west was a treeless prairie, with railroads beginning to push in; and the river was at their door, a free highway for the northern lumber. In the sawmills, men were ripped in two, leaving the undertaker a very difficult job. On the river, raftsmen fell off and were scarcely missed, life being so cheap compared to the unbelievable value of logs.” The raftsmen were called “roosters” because they roosted anywhere they could on their dangerous cargo. Mugs, Bat-Eye, and Mole were nicknames and all that men were known as when they signed on for their one-way trip and enough money for a drunk at the end of it. If married, the rooster had to take off all his clothes before entering the house, so that the sun and air could delouse their clothes.” (River Town, 1934)

“I remember those winters when the Mississippi was frozen so hard and so deep that on a clear, sunny, below zero day you could hear it crack as though a giant hand had stirred in the frozen depth. We used to skate for miles up the river, following remote sloughs, skirting behind willow-covered islands.”

”Many of my generation left town. We had to go out into the bigger world and find excitement and challenge. I sometimes feel that we may have made a mistake. I have a feeling that most of us never really put down roots. Those who stayed behind do seem to belong. When I go back, I feel that they have continued to live in a rhythm that is natural and right.”

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