The career of T. C. Henry fitted into the prevailing regional trends. As a leader in the wheat boom, his agricultural interests had been concentrated largely in wheat, but in 1877 he was credited with the largest orchard in that part of Kansas. "The Golden Belt" article had listed other crops besides winter wheat; 300 acres of spring wheat; 300 acres of barley; 300 acres of corn; and 100 acres of oats. With these crops and 3,000 acres of winter wheat, his farming operations supposedly covered 4,000 acres that Year. Probably, if not almost certainly, a part of this diversification was imposed upon him by the winter-killing of his wheat. During the winter of 1877-1878 he engaged in a partnership operation with William Vandermark for feeding 5,000 sheep, [1] and thereafter turned more definitely toward the livestock interest.

     The available descriptions of Henry's business ventures suggest that he resorted to two types of partnerships, or business arrangements, formal or informal in character. The one was employed as a means of securing capital both locally and from the East to finance his operations. The other was an arrangement by which he secured in the minority partners active managers in his several enterprises instead of hired agent-managers.

     Theoretically at least, a sense of responsibility should have been derived from such an ownership interest. Henry's contribution in such cases was the financing and the general direction of the business. Sonic of his early wheat operations were of the first type, [2] but the sheep-feeding project appears to have been the second type as well as his real estate partnerships in which the minority partner carried on the routine work of the real estate office. [3] In later years both devices were more frequently employed, or at least notices of them found their way more frequently into the newspapers. [4]

     With the severe drouth of 1879 and 1880 he expanded extensively into livestock. In 1881 he fenced all of a section northwest of Abilene to provide pasture to supplement bottom corn land. At the same time a partnership with Bronson was announced for a sheep ranch, 500 head of Merinos to be shipped in from

T. C. Henry's Later Career 87

New York to improve the local flock. [5] During the same summer, in cooperation with the firm of Harbottle and Cooper, Cherokee cattle were purchased in the Indian territory to be driven to Abilene in September for resale to farmers on one-year credit at 10 per cent interest. [6]

     As Henry had led the wheat boom, now he became a spokesman for the livestock boom of the early eighties. Before the Central Kansas Stock Breeder's Association at Manhattan, February 1, 1882, he delivered an address on "The Stock Interests in Western Kansas."

     I apprehend that some, possibly many, of the propositions I shall advance on this occasion will subject me to criticism. . . But I believe we arc just upon the threshold of an era of substantial growth and real prosperity. We are wiser: drouths, grasshoppers, chinch-bugs and winds have taught us,-how much, and what, let us see.
     By western Kansas, I mean that portion of the State west from Fort Riley. . . The attempt to sustain a population, then, wholly or mainly by grain--growing alone, must be conceded, I am sure, after a ten year's effort, to be unsuccessful. Only so far as the system of farming adopted is auxiliary to the stock interests, can it be recommended The news paper, the railway and free homesteads are powerful agencies in building up a State now; but even more mighty is the withering, scorching, south wind. The former have more or less wittingly decoyed thousands and tens of thousands of honest, earnest people into a determined effort to settle the plains of western Kansas; and the latter has steadily blasted their hopes and wrested their fortunes.
     . . . No industry, no energy, no enterprise can ever make it possible for an average 160 acres in western Kansas to yield such a support as American civilization demands for a family. The soil is fertile, and the climate unobjectionable; but the rainfall is insufficient to sustain general farming. Nor has there been any material increase in the annual rainfall; . . . . but so long as the Rocky Mountains border us on the west, so long will the natural humidity of the atmosphere be lessened.
     . . . If ever any general climatic changes occur in our State, it will be effected by some great organic law wholly outside of any merely human agency. I conclude, therefore, that the present physical phenomena of the plains and prairies of Kansas will continue practically unchanged, and every successfully organized industry must be conformed to them. Here and there among the eastern counties of western Kansas, where the chemical constituents of the soil are particularly favorable, wheat growing may be made profitable. Even in such counties it should be a subordinate

88 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

crop, and in all others wholly abandoned. Dry winters, late spring frosts, hot winds, chinch-bugs, and occasionally, grasshoppers, involve risks which no prudent farmer will confront. Corn is a safer crop, and its culture may be pushed further west. . . Rye is very valuable, particularly for winter grazing. Oats, barley, and millet do well in a "wet year."
     Confident, therefore, that stock growing must be the leading and almost sole industry of western Kansas, I purpose directing the balance of this essay to the consideration of such measures as will, in my opinion, most wisely protect and advance that interest.
     First-Preserve our native grasses. . . No artificial grass has yet been supplied which can be relied upon as a substitute for them. They appear late in the spring, and they frost early in the fall; but they are bulky, abundant and nutritious. At any rate, they are all we have, all we are likely to have, and if once destroyed our plains would be a desert indeed.
     Second-Repeal the homestead and pre-emption laws. No further good can be accomplished by continuing in existence laws which result in harm to their beneficiaries, and embarrass the operation of a class of industries naturally adapted to the State. f this cannot be effected, then abridge the term of occupancy, and thus expedite the facility of procuring title in fee, with a view to the more rapid absorption of territory by the stock interest.
     Third-Repeal the timber-culture act. . . Probably no more practically absurd law was ever enacted in Congress, save, possibly, that other "timber law," which proposes, by a compound of astonishing inconsistencies, to "protect" American lumber by cutting down American timber. . .
     Again, the public domain shall pass as soon as possible or practicable into the hands of private owners. . . The public lands should be appraised in solid sections, and offered for sale under the direction of the General Land Department. The general government would secure a large fund, and the revenues of the State be largely augmented. . . .
     But when stock men are obliged to purchase the range, and pay land tax, the situation is reversed. They will then be sure to insist upon controlling and grazing their own territory. To do this peaceably and profitably, sooner or later they will be forced to fence. Large bodies may be enclosed, in which several parties can join. A law can be enforced requiring suitable gateways to be placed at regular intervals. . .
     But some may urge, why agitate these sweeping changes now? The stock interests do not demand them. Possibly not, at least just yet. If the ratio which has marked the increase of the live stock interests of this State the past two years is maintained the next ten, every acre of grass on the prairies and on the plains will be consumed. Within half that time

T. C. Henry's Later Career 89

every available watering place will be struggled for. Sheep men and cattle men will battle for range, and conflicting interests embroil the whole territory. [7]

     Henry professed to be worried lest his livestock address would arouse hostility, but again he was voicing largely the current trend of opinion. Although differing from Henry on some points, J. W. Robson wrote to the Abilene Chronicle, gently but firmly,taking him to task for not having said such things earlier:

     Agricultural booms, and specialties, has been our bane in this State of Kansas. Had every settler in Kansas located on a 160-acre farm been satisfied with eighty acres of arable land, and this planted with various crops, leaving the remaining eighty acres in native grass, for the pasturage of cattle and sheep, we would have been in a sound financial condition today, and our families would have been living in comfort and luxury. [But] Ah, friend Henry, that terrible epidemic "wheat on the brain" prostrated the farmer financially, and blasted his hopes. . . . .

     On the subject of native grasses Robson agreed with Henry, but, he continued, what benefactors Henry and the old settlers would have been if they had always advised new comers to plow only half, but they lacked that foresight. Of course the farmer suffered also from other evils, according to Robson; unfriendly legislation, railroad monopolies, and trade combinations. Robson challenged Henry's views on climate, tame grasses and land legislation. He thought favorable changes in climate were to be expected, but admitted that in spite of the fact that the subject had been the leading topic of discussion in 1871-1875, they knew nothing about it. He still had faith that growing of tame grasses would yet be successful. These differences were not such as to arouse much controversy, but the issue of public land legislation involved traditions that stirred deep-seated emotions. Robson argued that the land laws were the only legislation enacted in twenty-five years which favored the producing classes and he denounced the proposed repeal as an unpatriotic move that would deprive every landless citizen of his birthright. [8]

     The Topeka Commonwealth became a sort of clearing house for discussion of Henry's views. The editor challenged Henry's dictum that grain raising in Dickinson county and westward did

90 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

not pay and farmers should turn immediately to stock raising warning of failure because blooded cattle needed grain and only Texas cattle could live on prairie grass and creek water. One of the hobbies of the Commonwealth was irrigation of a large part of the country west of Larned and Hays, and therefore, the editor protested Henry's proposal for a change in the land laws that would permit disposal of government land in large tracts for stock raising and urged the railroads not to dispose of their lands in that manner either until irrigation had been given a fair trial. The successful adaptation of agriculture to the eastern half of Kansas had been achieved, but in his opinion "the true value" of the land to the westward had not yet been "even approximately ascertained." [9]

     An editorial of the Atchison Champion was reprinted challenging Henry's drawing of an isothermal line north and south through mid-Kansas and instead indicating a diagonal line from southeast to northwest through the southwestern corner of Sumner county and the northwestern corner of Decatur county, but qualifying even such a line because there were exceptions on both sides of it. The Champion disagreed with Henry's contention that 160 acres was not sufficient to support a family according to American standards. [10] A Larned correspondent of the Topeka Daily Capital emphasized the recent settlement of the extreme west, much not over five years, mentioned the large volume of production as recorded in the statistics of the state board of agriculture, disagreed with Henry that it was good only for stock but held that the farmers would learn also that it did not pay to depend entirely upon wheat. [11]

     Henry replied that he did not intend his address to be interpreted as presented in these criticisms: "I did not draw an absolute isothermal line. I cannot, nor can anyone else. The climate differences are too imperceptibly defined for that, as I said." He insisted that he did not say that grain did not pay in Dickinson county, only that the system of farming must be progressively different, a combination of grain and livestock, as agriculture proceeded westward into regions of lessening rainfall. As respects

T. C. Henry's Later Career 91

the 160-acre farm, he admitted that he should have made an exception of Dickinson and other eastern counties of the west half of the state, and intended it that way. As applied to the country further west, he challenged the Commonwealth's irrigation program as impracticable and repeated his opinion "that campaigns of experiment ought to end," and "remunerative industries. . . . adapted to the natural conditions of the plains. . . . should be fostered." [12]

     The outcome of the discussion thus far had been to force Henry to restate his position in more exact language which excepted the central Kansas counties and in effect narrowed the discussion to country further west, the High Plains in particular. The Saline County Journal was not disposed to let Henry off with these explanations suggesting that maybe he had attempted to farm on too large a scale "for the knowledge he had of wheat growing. The same years that Henry failed many a `small farmer' in the same section made money raising wheat. We firmly believe that the western portion of Kansas is just as good a wheat growing country as can be found anywhere, and is as suitable for agriculture of all kinds as any country. . . [Crop failures are liable to happen anywhere] but he who will take 80 or 160 acres and farm well will flourish as well as any farmer in the wide world, as well as any person who has the same amount invested as our farmer in any other business." [13]

     In his own style, Henry carried out his new policies with vigor. With M. D. Herington he bought 10,000 acres of pasture land; with Robert Chapin of New York, 12,00 acres; and supposedly in his own right 16,000 acres more; all from the Missouri Pacific railroad (M.K. and T. land grant) in Riley, Wabaunsee, Dickinson and Morris counties. [14] Later he was reported as president of a New York syndicate that had purchased all remaining M. K. and T. lands. [15] The reason given for the earlier acquisitions was that "They will be held for grazing purposes, Mr. Henry's theory being that such lands may be required in the immediate future to meet the rapidly developing demands of stockmen." In connection with the later purchase, the announcement was

92 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

made of the opening of offices at different points for resale of the lands, and much of this land was assembled by stockmen in conjunction with small holdings and fenced into large pastures in the bluestem--pasture region. A newspaper correspondent, interviewing Henry on the sale of these lands, reported that they were being offered to settlers at $3.00 to $5.00 per acre on twenty_ years time at seven percent interest, the first payment being due only after two years. Henry was reported also to be advancing money to settlers for the purchase of livestock, the borrower proving his intentions by having built a house and dug a well and by actually living on the farm.

     Another project was a livestock farm established under the name of Henry and Warner. They purchased purebred Shorthorn and Hereford bulls with a view to carrying on an experiment t to determine the relative merits of the two breeds grown under the same conditions. [16] Later the same year Henry was reported to be organizing a horse raising corporation with a $50,000 capital, to operate on 5,000 acres of land in southeastern Dickinson county, overrunning into Morris county. They proposed to specialize in Clydesdales. [17] The project does not seem to have materialized.

     Apparently Henry's initial livestock enterprise did not turn out as well as his beginnings in raising wheat, and a new type of boom was arising in the West-irrigation. Henry's interest in irrigation had cropped out casually in his earlier public addresses, especially his "Wheat Culture" address of 1878, but his livestock address of 1882 had challenged it as applied to the Plains. In + March, 1883, the announcement was made that he would transfer his residence and interests to Denver, leaving at the end of the month. [18]

     This announcement drew a parting tribute from J. W, Robson:4

     . . .It was his abiding faith in Dickinson County and his indomitable energy that induced thousands of intelligent and industrious men with their families to settle on these fertile plains. . . And we are confident that the old homesteaders, as they plow their fields or gather the golden grain, will gratefully remember his many acts of kindness and words of sympathy and encouragement during the dark days of early settlement. . .

T. C. Henry's Later Career 93

     The energy of my friend was wonderful, the amount of mental work which he performed was only known to his most intimate friends. His ideas of work were exacting. He knew nothing of mere office hours; an idea struck him and he immediately inspired it with life and vim, and it bad to go till it accomplished the full fruition which he expected. The question arises in my mind, as T write these lines, upon whom Will his mantle fall, Where among all our fellow citizens will we find a man possessed with the same business tact, courage, open-handed generosity and honesty of purpose? I am afraid we will not see his like again, but if we look over our County which he served so well and did so much to develop its resources, and increase its wealth; when we gaze upon the beautiful city of the plains which he built up and beautified more than any other man, we will always have reminders of the great work which he performed in our midst. . . . [19]

     Seemingly Henry had lost his touch and as so often happened with men who made a measure of success in relatively small enterprises, he overexpanded, became involved in financial difficulties, and in lawsuits which challenged even his business integrity. [20]

     He did not escape altogether from criticism by local people. G. W. Martin of the Junction City Union, after reviewing the lawsuits of 1885 remarked that "Henry is known as a rattler. ..." and in 1893 commented that "the original wheat boomer of Kansas, is in bad luck again. . . In many respects Henry is a remarkable man but with his success he has had so much trouble as to suggest the lack of a balance wheel in his make up." [21]

     Evaluation of T. C. Henry's career requires much more perspective than can be derived from the history of Abilene alone. Was community building on the frontier dependent for success upon a strong man or was success the product of the rank and file of the people and the operation of natural forces? Studies of a variety of frontier communities reveal a substantial number of instances where one man or one group seemed to have been a directing and stabilizing force through early years. Early Junction City was dominated largely by Streeter and Strickler, merchants; Great Bend by E. R. Moses, merchant and miller; Stafford by the Larabee mills; and Kinsley by R. E. Edwards, merchant and stockman. Even a substantial list of illustrations does not constitute proof, however, of a strong-many theory. No personality or suc-

94 Winter Wheat in the Golden Belt of Kansas

cession of them could establish a town and community where none was meant to be. Conversely, a community with natural advantages probably would develop without any such stimulus. Communities dominated for a greater or lesser time by some individual sometimes found it a serious handicap. The influence for better or worse was dependent upon the long-range soundness of the strong man, and on whether that influence was wielded broadly in the public interest or narrowly for selfish exploitation. The strong-man theory is made to appear more attractive by reason of the fact that where he received general approval, the praise bestowed upon him is usually a matter of voluminous record colored by the optimism of the local booster spirit and frequently by his control of the newspaper. When a strong man betrayed his community, except for the immediate outcry, there was no occasion or means for perpetuating his infamy or bad judgment. A short memory was an advantage when a community wished to attract settlers. Many promoters blew up before they could qualify as strong men and these casualties must be charged against the theory. Many prospered for a time along with the community and in a period of depression found they were overextended and were liquidated-if honest, with the least possible losses to their creditors, and if dishonest, their collapse ended in scandal. Some moved to other fields of activity on the assumption that they had outgrown their community and among such removals the casualty list was frequently high. A few remained permanently with their people, sharing prosperity and adversity together, the community benefiting in the long run, even when highly critical of their taskmaster who saw them through at a price when the going was rough, or even when no price was exacted and the private fortune was largely dissipated for the community welfare., The most important conclusion to be drawn is that no simple and universal formula can be discovered which explains history. Human behavior provides too many variables in addition to the uncertainties of natural forces.

     T. C. Henry did not illustrate either possible extreme: temporary exploiter or permanent resident. Although suggesting that

T. C. Henry's Later Career 95

he showed a certain lack of balance, G. W. Martin had given him credit as "the original wheat boomer of Kansas" and as serving as an example in the disastrous fall of 1874 by sowing wheat among the grasshoppers-it was "more than a real estate advertisement. it proved to be a great stroke in restoring confidence," and even to his own surprise his courage was rewarded by "a monstrous crop" in 1875. [22] As respects the speculative exploitation of land, an Eastern investigator recognized it as being more extensive along the Kansas Pacific than along the Santa Fe railroad, but attributed the difference to the land policies of the railroad. [23] Robson's evaluation in 1883, although a graceful tribute on the occasion of Henry's departure from Abilene, was scarcely to be taken as the verdict of history. Abilene's future did not depend upon any one man either then or earlier. The relative eclipse of Abilene by Salina was not because Henry had gone, but because Salina's position in central Kansas was more strategic with respect to the winter--wheat region and the development of the milling industry. It is quite possible that Henry realized this as early as 1883 and that this fact entered into his decision to try his fortune elsewhere. So far as adaptation of agriculture to the Plains is concerned, the verdict on Henry's Kansas career is failure-he followed boom after boom, wheat, livestock, irrigation, and in the last-named phase he abandoned Kansas without seeing his enterprise through to a stabilization upon the basis of an approximate or substantial adjustment to environment. He was first and last, primarily and essentially a speculator. This fact became clearer as the years passed. The regime of hard winter wheat, lister tillage and other adjustments, occurred during his lifetime-he died in 1914-but in them he had no part.

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1. Enterprise Kansas Gazette, January 11, 18-8.
2. Salina Herald, May 13, 1876; Abilene Chronicle, July 21, 1876; Enterprise Kansas Gazette, March 29, 1878.
3. Ibid., August 30, 1878.
4. The details of the methods used in financing Henry's operations would require a separate treatment, and constitute a revealing picture of the informalities with which business was transacted. The history of Western development cannot be at all complete until a variety of samples, of which henry would be only cue, can be studied in detail to reconstruct the amazing processes employed in financing such enterprises. A convenient introduction is to be found in the opinions of federal judges in the litigation cited in Footnote 20.
5. Abilene Chronicle, July 8, 1881.
6. Ibid.,. August 5, 1881.
7. The Industrialist, Manhattan, February 4, 1882.
8. Abilene Chronicle, March 3, 1882.
9. The Commonwealth, Topeka, February 3, 1882. The address had been printed in full, February 2.
10. Ibid., February 4, 1882.
11. Topeka Daily Capital, February T0, 1882.
12. The Commonwealth, Topeka, February 7, 1882.
13. Saline County Journal, Salina, February 16, 1882.
14. Abilene Chronicle, May 26, 1882.
15. Chase County Leader, Cottonwood Falls, November 23, 1882.
16. Abilene Chronicle, June 30, 1882.
17. Ibid., December 22, 1882.
18. Ibid., March 9, 16, 30, July 27, 1883.
19. Ibid., March 16, 1883.
20. Litigation arising out of T. C. Henry's financial difficulties as heard in the United States Circuit Court is found in T. C. Henry v. Travellers Insurance Company, 33 Federal Reporter (1887) 132-143; 34 Federal Reporter (1888) 258, 259; 35 Federal Reporter (1888) 15; 45 Federal Reporter (1891) 299-303. Litigation in Colorado found its way to the Colorado Supreme Court, 26 Pacific Reporter (1891) 321.
References to Henry's financial difficulties and litigation in Kansas and elsewhere appeared in the local press: Abilene Chronicle, August 29, 1884; Abilene Gazette, October 24, 1884; Kansas City (Missouri) Livestock Indicator, September 3, 1885; Junction City Union, September 5, October T0, 1885; Abilene Reflector, October 8, 1885; August 17, 1893, from the Kansas City Gazette.
The matters at issue in these suits lie outside the scope of this particular study and this reference is only what seems essential to the present purpose and is not to be interpreted as passing judgment upon any of the parties to the controversy.
21. Junction City Union, September 5, 1885; Abilene Reflector, August 17, 1893, from the Kansas City Gazette, with which Martin had become associated after leaving the Union.
22. Abilene Reflector, August 17, 1893, from the Kansas City Gazette.
23. Unsigned, The Atlantic Monthly, 44 (December 1879) 717-725.