Dusting Off the Old Ones was published in 1961 by W. B. Clarke, Miles City, Montana.
A Fantastic Scheme
About Christmas time in 1881, there was published in our local paper a story in which the Yellowstone valley was to play an important part. The factual part of the story was taken from an article in the New York Herald concerning an interview of a Herald reporter with an elderly gentleman who had walked into the city department of that paper a short time before. The scheme is so fantastic that perhaps it would be interesting to our readers, inasmuch as this locality was concerned in it. The elderly gentleman stated that he was interested in benevolent work--and that he had in mind a plan which would benefit unfortunate people of every description and be a lasting monument to the charity of the American people. He stated that at the next session of Congress, he would ask for a grant of one million acres of land, and then mortgage it back to the government as security for a loan of one million five hundred dollars--he was sure Congress would grant the request inasmuch as no member of Congress would dare vote against a bill with such a benevolent purpose behind it. A commission would be formed with a member from each state, who would select the land wherever they pleased--probably in the Yellowstone valley. The land was to be laid out in the form of a square, and precisely in the center of it there would be a water tower three hundred feet high. Sixteen squares of ten thousand acres each were to be mapped out around this tower,the four central squares to be reserved by the commission for a park. Sheep would be pastured in one quarter of the park, cows in another, deer in another, and buffalo in the fourth. The remaining twelve squares would be given away to those agreeing to erect institutions upon them of a benevolent or educational nature. General Grant was to have the call for one square to devote to any charitable purpose he saw fit, and others to have the same privilege--one square of ten thousand acres was to be made the home of all orphans in the country--these orphans were to study four days a week, and pay for their living the other days by "watching cows and sheep and picking apples and potatoes." Ten thousand orphans would by graduated every year after the institution was in full blast. And so the story goes on and on with similar details just as absurd as those already stated. In all our reading, however, we have never run onto the presentation of any such scheme to Congress, nor have we run onto any such "tower" in the Yellowstone Valley.