Dr. W. B. Mead


Editor HERALD - I came to Oberlin, Decatur county, Kansas in August 1879 and I grew up with the country. I had a homestead and pre-emption at the confluence of the two Sappas; they are known as the old Mead farm. I never raised anything on the land not even a mortgage I had on it. In 1887 Messrs Henshaw and Burch owned the HERALD. I was helping to fill the paper, writing the Republican League articles and they got the credit. I wrote to break up the Republican party. I scattered the league and would have gotten the party only I lost control of the paper. I believe it was in the year 1888 I assumed editorial control. I remember more vividly when I went out than when I went in. My creditors had something to say about my going out. The HERALD was located in the Benton basement, under the Oberlin National Bank. It was cool in the summer and much cheaper than the Colorado resorts. I was new in editorial work and I needed a cooling basin when I wrote those editorials, that I thought would become classics; only one I recall was ever copied: "The 4th of July orator" but I kept on "casting pearls before swine" to the end of my career.

I did much for Decatur county as I praised her virgin prairies; and her wavy fields of alfalfa green in season and out of season and many an old settler there owes his fortune or misfortune (if he didn't understand the country) to my efforts. I used to try to tell the tenderfoot how to do. Those farmers who plodded and studied the country; if they are on earth; are there living in ease and luxury in their declining years. While the new comer that refused to go slow, was soon all in, and away a rambler over the earth. I believe it was in 1890 we had a dry spell; about every cycle of ten years we had one and sometimes one was thrown in between for good measure. During this dry year, although the HERALD appeared regularly every week, as true as the seasons I began to wabble in a financial way - haven't got steady yet - and I foresaw that someone would supplant me. "Misfortunes seldom come singly" and as the mortgage on my 320 acres had fallen due, I was in no easy frame of mind. I recall a letter the mortgagee wrote me. "He said the lender can live without the borrower but the borrower can't live without the lender." I knew as Solomon had said, "That the borrower was the servant of the lender" But I had never been pinched before and I wrote an editorial on the "The usuer and his ill gotten gains" that raised the hair on the heads of those who were fattening at the expense of the down-trodden and oppressed.

I attended all the editorial excursions, that was my long suit. I recall one in particular when Mrs. Mead and myself went on the trip to Galveston. It was my first and last trip to the sea shore and my quiet nature gave itself over to complete abandon in the presence of a gay crowd, bent on pleasure and amusement. It is my recollection that the present management of the HERALD began where I left off and by assiduous labor and patient industry have built up a permanent and prosperous business. The HERALD is the pioneer paper of Oberlin and Decatur county. It started with the country; it has always had many friends and patrons, that the mutations and vicissitudes of time have not and never will shake in their good will and steadfast devotion.

With my parting word I want to say that in the history I have been giving I have been compelled to touch upon some of my misfortunes. Space would not furnish room to recount my victories. I arrived there early on the scene; I was young and full of enthusiasm; I had no reason to leave only I wanted to ramble, and explore new fields. My family and myself are enjoying the best of health and it pleases us to know that our friends in Decatur county, who have "bourne the heat and burdens of the day" are comfortable and prosperous in the country they helped to make.

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