Letter from George S. Mitchell

Taken from the Meadows Eagle – December 28, 1911:

Dear Sir:

In response to your request for a little write-up of my impression of Meadows and Meadows Valley, as seen from the inside; will say, that I can probably best do that by giving you a little narrative of my impressions, and what I have seen, as I can, from the time I came here down to the present time.

About twenty-four years ago, I came here, at that time just a mere boy, in company with my father and mother. I cannot say that my first impression of Meadows was very good, for like all youngsters I was pining for the companionship of my former playmates, but as is characteristic of the young, my memories of the young, my memories of former associates soon began to dim, and I found myself forming new acquaintances, now associates, and new ties which bound my heart to Meadows, and those ties and associations have grown stronger and stronger, with the passing years until today, Meadows Valley is to me, the dearest spot of all the earth.

At the time of my coming here the improvements and population of Meadows Valley were nothing as compared with what they are today. At that time the valley boasted but one painted house, in fact most of the homes were of the log cabin type, which is characteristic of the frontier. The land was practically all in its raw state, there was but little fencing, no roads, no town, no telephone service, and but once a week mail service. Those were some of the conditions confronting the early pioneers of this valley. With the nearest trading post sixty-five miles distant, the nearest physician the same distance away, and in order to reach this town one had to travel a road which our roads of the present time would be turnpikes in comparison, and with these same roads closed to travel throughout several months of the year from deep snow.

With such conditions as these which I have just portrayed prevailing, one may well say that it took men and women with stout hearts and strong convictions of the future development of this place, to endure the hardships and privation which were inevitable to the building of homes and starting the even meager improvements which were to grow and unfold into the grand proportions of what they are today. But even as many years ago as that, there were several who had proceeded us here and were busily engaged in the arduous task of carving out homes for the future.

Perhaps there is no one thing, which is so clear an index of the progress of a community as the development of its schools. At the time that I came here, the whole valley maintained but one school, and that is the little old log structure which still stands at the lower edge of the town.
And there many of the men and women who are now engaged in the active development of this valley, received their educational training which fitted them for home building and good citizenship.
But for the poor advantages for schooling which we had in those with but one teacher, which precluded the possibility of a graded system such as we have now, with our school house at the remote distance from many of the pupils, I am proud to say that all of those pupils are taking a position second to none in the development of this valley. Did I say all? No, for the Great Father has called some of those schoolmates home and are now peacefully sleeping in our little cemetery, while their souls have flown to a brighter and fairer land than ours, where trouble never comes and sorrow is unknown. Such were the school conditions in those days.

Today we have in our valley and Price Valley which is tributary to this place, the schools ranging in cost of construction to twelve thousand dollars, in three of which in tributary to this place, the schools ranging in cost of construction from one to twelve thousand dollars, in three of which the higher branches are being taught, and employing in all at the present time nine teachers, to which salaries are paid amounting to six hundred dollars per month. Some little progress in the way of educational institutions eh? From one little school room with one teacher to our present facilities along the line.

The progress of our mail service has been a parallel one with our schools, as I have stated we had at the time I came here a weekly mail service, and one sack or possibly two was sufficient to hold all the mail that was brought in, but with our home development, our mail service was gradually increased from once a week to twice a week, and from that to three times a week. Now we felt pretty much as though we were beginning to amount to something when we were granted a mail service three times a week, but our progress was so rapid that we were soon granted daily service which we have enjoyed for some time past, and today there are dozens of sacks of mail unloaded at our office every morning, containing hundreds of pounds of mail and from our office mail is being sent out each day except Sunday to three points of the compass.

As with our schools and our mail, so has been the development of our lumber industries, from a little sash saw, with a capacity of about a thousand feet per day, to six mills with an aggregate capacity of hundreds of thousands of feet per day.

As to the development along the lines of agriculture, stock growing and kindered industries I feel myself incompetent to wait, but suffice it to say, that it too, has kept pace with the line of progress of this splendid valley.

One of the most interesting things to me in the way of the development of our valley has been the birth and growth of our little town of Meadows from a post office and log hotel, to its present proportions. Mr. Calvin White earned the distinction of not only being one of the pioneers of this valley, but of also being the pioneer merchant of Meadows, and while the stock he carried was not large, it filled a long felt want, and many a poor devil was enabled to fill his haversack at his counter and thus keep the wolf of hunger from the door, and from that date forward our town began to grow, keeping pace with the development of the country, and thus keep the wolf of hunger from the door, and at all times being able to meet the needs of the country.

The next in the line of merchants was Uncle John McMahan with M.E. Keizur, a close friend with whom I soon afterwards formed a partnership, a few years later the mercantile firm of Smith & Webb was brought into existence and sandwiched in between and following closely after the business enterprises which I have just mentioned came other needed business institutions such as our drug store newspaper, bank, hotels, feed and livery barn, blacksmith shops, etc., until today practically every avenue of business is well represented, with all the different, proprietors wearing that smile that won’t rub off.

As to the beauties of the valley, the unparalleled resources which have brought about these wonderful developments, I will leave to a more able pen than mine to portray. But with our valley dotted with magnificent homes, fit for kings to dwell in, our people happy, prosperous, well clothed and fed, we may well say peace on earth, good will to men.

- George S. Mitchell

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