The Impress of the Dreamer on Agriculture.
By Harry Austin Clapp
When I wish to know the meaning of a word, I consult my dictionary. When I desire to know what it has done for humanity, I consult my Bible. I find by examining these authorities that a dream is "to have an idea or imagination in the mind while in the state of sleep. A dreamer is "one lost in imagination or schemes of anticipated good."
"At last in sleep their bodies they compose
And dream of the future fight."
In the Bible I find that dreamer and dreams is mentioned more than forty times. From this I assume that the dreamer was a man of considerable importance. Searching profane and sacred history, one finds many references to the dreams of dreamers and it is strange but true that many of these men dreamed of a finer and more productive agriculture. Pliny was a dreamer and so was Confucius and Jesus was a Master Dreamer. All down the pages of history are accounts of the dreamer and his influence on agriculture. The Bible is filled with accounts of dreamers and the fulfillment of their dreams. The first that comes to my attention is found in Genesis, where sheep herders were assembled and "they said one to another here comes the dreamer." Thus was introduced to us the world's first and perhaps the greatest dreamer. Thus comes Joseph the dreamer.
He dreamed of methods for preserving the fruits of the soil. He conceived the first silo, the first granary and the result of his dreams has made such a profound impression that to this day, writers and speakers quote from the teachings of this man. Perhaps he was not the first dreamer of a progressive agriculture, but it appears to me that his philosophy has stood longer the test of time and has best benefited the human race.
It is a long cry to that day. Retrospection causes one to think that after all, we are only adapters, for in many cases, we use the methods of ancient dreamers with more modern mechanics.
Moses was another great dreamer. He also was the first great strike leader. When his people were denied proper material with which to make bricks, he organized a strike and led his people to a land which he had seen in his dreams, a land of succulent grass, flowing hills, luxuriant meadows, a richer soil and thus primitive agriculture again was planted in the Garden of Eden. Many of the methods used by these old patriarchs are in use to this day proving that dreams come true and are of value to humanity.
Napoleon was a man of war, but he was a dreamer and in his dreams he saw the necessity of some method by which food might be kept for the use of his soldiers. Napoleon had no dream of benefiting agriculture. He thought only of the success of arms, but his dream was interpreted by Nicholas Appert.
Appert at last discovered the secret. He never knew why food was preserved, but he knew that following certain rules it was preserved. The army was supplied with another arm. The Appert secret has long been solved and now we know the why and by improved methods, the Appert method has reached nearly every farm family of America. It has enjoyed a pronounced influence on agriculture. It has lightened the burden of farm life giving more time for higher culture and brought a splendid refinement to the farm home. At this time I know of no dream which has had a more profound and valuable influence on agriculture than this dream of saving and preserving food. It touches the very vitals of rural life, for after all, the final success of farm life is not to make money, but to exact from the soil a good living.
My paternal ancestor, Roger Clapp, landed in Boston Harbor, May 30, 1630. His memoirs, which are preserved in the Massachusetts Historical Museum, records that the sea journey required twelve weeks and that "we were short of vituals and much sickness." In his tale, he states that he and the others of the party, were loyal subjects of "Our Most Gracious King," but that they dreamed of a land where they might worship as they wished without fear of persecution and that they might acquire and hold exempt from an over burden of taxes, land more productive than they had in England. They dreamed of a land that would give generous yields to the faithful agriculturist. He acquired land in Little Neck, in Dorchester now a part of Boston. He relates that in his opinion some day the growth of population will extend agricultural development as far west as the Connecticut River.
These men, as well as the Roman Catholics who settled in Maryland and Virginia, were all dreaming the same dream, a dream of rich lands of an easier life and an agricultural development which would forever be denied them in the England they still loved.
The Spanish Conquistadores landed on these shores with a sword flaming with blood and dreams of gold, but with them came the gentle priests who carried seeds of grain and flowers which they distributed and instructed the natives in a new method. They built irrigation ditches, missions, chapels, cared for the suffering and held out as a reward the cross of Jesus. They dreamed no dreams of gold. Their dreams were for a finer life, a broader civilization, better crops of feed and food and we this day owe a great debt to these patient godly priests of the church.
Many of the plants they introduced are now considered as natives. All over the southern country, one may find this day the results of their constructive work.
McCormick, Deering, Oliver were also great dreamers. I doubt if any of them dreamed of growing into great powerful influences. They dreamed of an extension of agriculture by the use of tools with which a farmer might till more land and produce larger and more profitable crops. They dreamed of an extension of agriculture which would at last bring into cultivation the vast plains of the west and enable a rapidly increasing population room for expansion. In the memory of many of us, these dreams have become truths.
Go back with me for a moment and vision this country as farmers harvested grain crops with the sickle, threshed the grain by driving cattle on a threshing floor, corn planted and cultivated and gathered by hand methods. Don't tell me that the dream of these men has not been of benefit not only to agriculturists, but to every soul in the nation. They were entitled to financial response, but their great reward was the revolution in farm methods.
Every fine thing in the world has first been dreamed out and then wrought out. The only thing that approaches the dreamers influence on agriculture is the religion taught by Jesus Christ. Both taught the same thing, but in a different manner. Jesus, along with our man of vision, taught the world how to approach a better refinement of life and how to realize from the material God has provided those things which have counted so much in the development and progress of human society. Sleep is a suspension of body and mental powers. Heart action slows. Respiration slackens. Organs of digestion and elimination progress in lesser degree.
The sleeper lapses into an unconscious condition at times so profound as to be undisturbed by any exciting noises. Sleep in a phenomena that has engaged the thought of the world's greatest scientists and to day, they know little about it. In sleep, men dream. The thought comes to me that in this way God, with his mystic way, works on the sub-conscious mind and implants therein ideas which he desires to see fulfilled. Who can say that this is not true? We all have had experiences in dreamland. We all know that many times these dreams are so vivid as to be remembered in the waking hours and often from them have been evolved plans and ideas of value. It is my opinion that God has more times than we suspect planted in the sleeping brain ideas that may have in the waking hours been developed for the good of mankind. There are many mysteries about our God and what he has wrought. Dreamer of dream. What would the world be without these dreamers? The irrigation canals of Matagorda County, in the lower valley and other parts of the country, giant bridges, ponderous locomotives, gigantic ships ploughing the seas, planes in the air, mysterious radio activity in the air, wonderful electric generating plants, dams conserving water for the use of man and many others too numerous to mention, but each one an impression on agriculture. Many are so dependent on agriculture, that without land tillage, they would not exist. Every one of these great facilities first existed in the dream brain of some man and in the waking hours wrought out to the exaltation and benefit of the human race. God is a God to us, every watchful, ever guiding us in the path to a higher culture. Let us not forget our God. I close by paraphrasing Joquin Miller's immortal poem
"The wery oxen staggered day by day
Faltered and struggled on their way
Urged by the wagon wheel squeeks
Tracing in hub deep ruts curious streaks.
The men-the women grew wan and weak
As they tried their spirit to keep.
At the end of the day at the fall of the night
When the caravan rested in camy fire light
They asked "Captain what if tomorrow
We find no fairer land
On which to lay plow or hand,
What will you say?"
"What will I say if at the end of another day
We find no fairer, richer land?
When then I'll say dream on, dream on and on."
Feliz suenos [Pleasant dreams]
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 2, 1934
Many Head of Cattle Found on Mainland
Mr. Frank King of Collegeport was a business visitor to the city today and he reported that he had found on his land 168 dead cattle, washed there from the island since the storm.
Undoubtedly the loss is much greater among the cattlemen who had cattle on the peninsula than at first thought. It will be a difficult task to determine the exact amount and none of the cattlemen attempts to a guess at his individual loss.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 2, 1934
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from the longer article telling about his trip to Texas A. & M. to attend the short course.]
Much to our delight, Mary Louise arrived Sunday morning at 4:20, spent the day with us and departed at 12:23 Monday morning. She brought sunshine to us and the Jackson home. All this time we were the guests of the Jackson family, a most wonderful, loving sweet bunch, no finer on this earth. Imagine trying to find a person among five thousand. For four days I tried to find Mesdames A. B. Pierce, Roy Nelson and Frank King. Wanted to invite them to the banquet. Did I find them? I did not until the day after.
Returned home with Oscar Wilcox and Lee Jackson who went a floundering, but all they got was the privilege of floundering about in the muddy water. Same day came Frances Mayfield, one time county health nurse on her vacation. She is now an advisory nurse of the state health department in charge of thirty counties. Delighted to have her with us for four days and especially were we pleased with the compliments she paid Patricia Martyn's work in this county and that the state board were well pleased with the result of Patricia's activities.
Bay City folk will be interested in learning that Cora B. spent the week in the hospital, her ailment being diagnosed as a weak back. In my opinion, it was not a back trouble.
Well, folks, the show is over, the last word spoken, the curtain is down, and house is dark. We were wined and dined and honored and now I and the miserable wretch are trying to beat back to normal and catch a little shuteye. Come with us next year.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 16, 1934
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article about Mr. Clapp being elected president of the Texas Writers Conference.]
Sunday evening was enlivened by a call from Mrs. Patricia Martyn and with her came Lieutenants Fieldham and Leighton of Battery 2, 132nd Field Artillery. Possible war was not discussed for neither of the Louies desire to shoot anything but rabbits.
I am informed that Postmaster Ben R. Mowery has been invited to be a member of the General Farley reception committee. I am very anxious to take the trip to Oklahoma with P. M. Mowery and have offered to go as valet, shoe shiner or general handy man. Mr. Mowery has notified General Farley that if he will send transportation and money for cakes, cawfee and two beers we will be on hand to greet him at any station he names.
Mrs. Jessie Kilpatrick is here for a visit with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Merck. Jessie resides in Dallas.
Mary Louise, who has been in the Phelps & DeWeese office in San Antonio for the past seven years, has been offered and accepted the position of private secretary to Dr. T. D. Brooks, Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, A. & M. College. Her office will be in the beautiful new administration building next to number 211 used by the Writers Conference. Mary Louise reports for her new duties September first.
The triple club meeting was held in the McCune home Thursday. First the King's Daughters had their luncheon, then the Woman's Club discussed where, how, when we vote and who for, this was followed by the Woman's Union with the usual religious program.
Ruth Boeker, who has been visiting her parents, Mrs. and Mrs. Carl Boeker, returned to San Antonio Sunday. Ruth is a lovely girl with plenty of charm and intelligence. She is not content to live on dad, but is ambitious to make her own way. She has a good position in the Alamo City. To make a short story sweet and interesting, I'll tell the world that I love Ruthie, but hope the miserable wretch never finds it out.
Hattie, who is the boss over the Palatial Pharmacy, has installed a cute little ice machine. It is about as large as a cabinet fonograf and is incased in a steel jacket and has a capacity of fifty pounds of ice each four hours. It is a cute little cuss and Hattie allows Hugo to play with it from time to time. The installation of this plant is going to play hob with the local ice dealers.
It looks as though work might begin on removing and remodeling the old depot into Mopac House, but no one can tell about these CWA boards. We have been told so many times to begin work only to have orders to stop.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 23, 1934
By Harry Austin Clapp
[Local information taken from longer article.]
While at College Station, I obtained from Doctor Hubert Schmidt a small vial of squeezy oil. It is used to lubricate rusty machinery with. I squirted some of it on the gears, cogs and springs of my wooden leg and it now works perfectly. I can dance, caper, and walk and at times I forget that I left my left leg on the Gettysburg Battle Field. But the best thing, is that A. D. Jackson had some dog biscuits rich in vitamine A. When I told him that the left side of my brain did not function, he gave me a supply and to my joy my right brain has picked up and begins to develop some bright ideas and the useless old left lobe has actually made a few feeble attempts to function. I am in hopes that it will come back to a normal condition. Some of our local people should secure some of those dog biscuits.
Well, anyway, we, meaning I and the miserable wretch, are back to normal. It is a good feeling. Monday opened "brite and fare" but old man Sol neglected to inform me that it was a day of prominence. It was the forty eighth anniversary of the birth of Mrs. Ellen Franzen and to do that worthy woman honor, fifty four of her friends gathered and brought with them loads of meats, pies, cakes, salads, fruits and tankards of ice tea. We never knew a thing about this, until too late to use the wash rag and get on our fresh undies so we lost out much to our disgust. They had a swell time and Mrs. Franzen was a happy woman.
That night the Burton Hurds entertained "the girl who thought she had been forgotten" and "the man she did not forget" at an elaborate dinner. At eight o'clock, fifty six friends surged in to greet Mr. and Mrs. Vern Batchelder, bringing with them many useful and costly gifts as evidence of their friendship. A delightful evening was spent in friendly intercourse and dancing. It was intended as a surprise and that the surprise was complete was evidenced by the expression on the faces of Vera and Vern.
The week started off in excellent shape, Tuesday morning a gang of men begin work on removing the old depot and the erection of Mopac House. The cement work is in charge of Mr. Linder of Palacios and Mr. Miller of this place is foreman on the building operations.
The library has been placed on a good and permanent foundation, water pipes being laid, shell hauled in by John Merck and much of the material is on the ground. If nothing happens, the community will soon have a Mopac House and the library will have some much needed room for expansion.
Wednesday being the birthday of Mr. Linder, he was entertained with a birthday dinner by us Home Crofters.
Thursday came Mrs. Patricia Martyn, County Health Nurse, to shoot typhoid serum into the arms of over one hundred applicants. She was accompanied by Louise Sharp, who brought us a quart of shelled shrimp. I am informed that the shrimp are coming into the bay in vast multitudes and that one boat took 4800 pounds in one day. At 2 1/2 c this runs into what is lovingly called "good money." Several of those who took the serum treatments said "I don't fear typhoid fever, but so long as the 'govmint' is paying for it and it don't cost me nuthin' I might as well take it."
Mrs. L. E. Liggett, president of the Woman's Club, her daughter Roberta and Mrs. Clapp, librarian, have spent two days this week making repairs on books, arranging them in order on the shelves and getting them in order for reopening the library first of next month. The library is free to any member of the community. There are no dues or fees or membership, but if books are kept beyond a certain time, a fine is exacted. This fine money is used to buy supplies such as paste, dating stamps and new books.
The run off primary went off without a hitch in this precinct. The board consisted of Mesdames Merck, Crane, Holsworth and Heisey. Of course, no ward heeler would attempt any rough house in the presence of these good democratic women.
Mrs. Jessie Kilpatrick, having spent two weeks vacation with her parents, Mr. and Mrs. Merck, left for her home at Seven come Leven, Newell Street, Dallas. We regret that Jessie was not able to spend a day with us. She is one of the local girls who for years has never neglected to send us a Christmas greeting. For this delicate remembrance, we just have to love Jessie.
Work on the removal of the depot of the depot has gone on for a week and the depot is no more. The League lot is piled with building material. Trench dug for foundation. Gravel on hand, water pipes laid and water running. First class job to this date. James Gartrell here Saturday looking the job over and from the looks on his fine face, he must have been well pleased.
Received a delicious letter from my sweetheart over in the Plains country. She is a comfortable little kuss and it is a delight to snuggle with her.
For some time, the community has been expecting an increase in its population, but every one was surprised to learn Sunday morning that to Mr. and Mrs. Penland had been given two new children, a boy and a girl. If the rest of our families will do as well, our town will soon be well populated. I felt sure when Monday broke "brite and fare" that we were billed for a fine week and here comes twins to round out the week. This makes ten children for the Penlands, eight of them living. It is reported that the fine little mamma and the sweet kiddies are coming along in fine shape which is good. Every thing is lovely along Pilkington slough.
The Matagorda County Tribune, Thursday, August 30, 1934
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