This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Without doubt most of our readers highly appreciate the " Notes and Queries" of our correspondent "Jacques." Modern literature, even the best of newspapers contain little that minister to the wants of intelligent people who are in love with rural life. Gardening, properly understood, brings one into contact with every department of art and science, and throws a charm around existence in this enlarged condition that few other occupations can supply. "Jacques" is himself a country gentleman of the old school. In various walks of literature he has distinguished himself; and, besides a successful business career, he has been long noted as a leader among amateur horticulturists. In his retirement from business he finds increased delight in his early love for horticulture, and freely gives to our readers such little bits of experience as he picks up in his daily walks through his grounds, or among the books and friends he loves so well.
N. C. Meeker, in charge of the Indian Agency at White River, who is among those massacred in the recent out-break, was one of the many self-made men of whom our country may well be proud. He first became known to the writer while working a farm at Dangola, in Southern Illinois. Through some letters to the New York Tribune, he attracted Mr. Greeley's notice, and became attached to the Tribune. The letters were tersely and vigorously written, and had the rare merit of being full of news of general interest, and of ending when the writer had nothing more to tell. Horace Greeley, with his well-known faculty for detecting useful associates employed him as a regular correspondent, and his traveling letters through the West did much to make the Weekly Tribune popular. On the retirement of Solon Robinson, Mr. Meeker assumed the editorship of the Agricultural Department of the Tribune in which he was very successful. He was strongly imbued with much of the social philosophy which moved Horace Greeley, with whom he was quite a favorite. In his agricultural studies he had become much impressed with the value of irrigation as in use on the plains of Lombardy, and was very anxious to carry out a similar plan in American agriculture.
With the encouragement of Mr. Greeley, he made a trip to Colorado, and decided on the adaptability of a small mountain stream known as the Cache la Poudre, as being favorable to the establishment of a colony in which agriculture by irrigation should be the chief foundation stone. The colony was formed, - the total banishment of all intoxicating drinks from the settlement being also one of its peculiar features. He also established a newspaper called the Greeley Tribune, which, with the city he founded under the same name has proved a great success. During the past few years he has been engaged in teaching farming to the Ute Indians, under and with the encouragement of Chief Douglas; and all who knew Mr. Meeker would have no more faith in human nature, if his mission was not honestly and faithfully performed. He has had no end of trouble in getting them to work, but in spite of all obstacles was able to boast when last the writer heard from him, that he had caused them to dig several miles of the i main irrigating canal, and hoped the coming season to show that even untutored savages as they are called, could raise wonderful crops when under good advice.
Mr. Meeker was well known to many in the East as one of the Commissioners to the Cen-tennial from Colorado. He was continuous in his efforts to have a plot assigned to him with water privileges, in order to show how agriculture was carried on in those parts of our country where there is little rain. There were many difficulties in the way, and before they could be overcome the season was too far gone for planting. This he always regretted, as he had full faith in the idea that our rainless regions under systems of irrigation were really more valuable for agricultural purposes than those seemingly more favored places watered by frequent rains. It was one of his ambitions to live to show this conclusively, and, whether or not the results would have equalled his enthusiasm, he has already accomplished enough in that line to render his loss in some measure a national calamity. His son Ralph partakes of his father's energy and genius, and we believe was editing the Greeley Tribune in his father's absence.
At this writing it is believed that his wife and daughter who were philanthrophically devoting themselves to the education of the savages, have escaped.