The telegraph was first tried in 1844.
The first telegraph was tried in the winter of
1874, as Hugh McMahon of Brantford, Ontario, first talked to Mr. A. G.
Bell. It is strange how conditions arise so as to make some things possible,
while others equally feasible fail time and time again.
I remember well when Commodore C. K. Garrison purchased the St. Louis and San Francisco Railroad. At a reception given to him in St. Louis, Judge Baker, Attorney for the road, made a speech in which he said – “A man had to have courage to purchase a road which ran through a country so poor that a crow flying over it had to carry his rations under his wings to subsist.” This road was part of the Atlantic and Pacific.
Snuffing was very common, and I used to buy Garrett’s Snuff in hundred case lots, principally for the Southern market. The snuffing habit affected the voice, and made people speak through their noses. There used to be a Dr. Peak of Hannibal. Missouri, who on one occasion told a friend, in a very nasal twang, “Some folks say snuffing injuries the voice, but I have been snuffing for the last sixty years, and am a living monument to the contrary.” Snuffing in the South was usually called “dipping.” The victim would have a stick chewed fine like a tooth brush, dip it into the bottle of snuff, and rub it around the teeth. A fine elaborately decorated snuff box was a common present. They were often of gold set with diamonds.
In my early days most of the silver money we had was Spanish coins - 6¼ - 12½ - 25c – 50c and $1.00. The 6¼ piece was usually called a fip or a fipenny bit, I suppose meaning a five penny (cent) as they frequently passed for five cents, a more common name was a picayune. The 12½c piece was usually called a bit or a levy. The former name is still in use, particularly in the South. If you should ask the price of an article worth 75c you would be told six bits. The larger coins were denominated quarters, half dollars and dollars. Besides the Spanish and United States coins there were many other foreign coins in use with appropriate valuations.
There were many small banks throughout the country. Most of them issued notes usually called “shin plasters,” generally purporting to be redeemable in gold coin, these varied in value, largely owing to distance from centers of exchange, and cost, and risk of carrying the coin after being collected. The high price of exchange (1915) on European money is caused by the risk and expense of insurance in collection. In St. Louis, ordinary exchange used to be one-half of one percent on New York or $5.00 a thousand.
In early times there were few woolen or other mills, and many, particularly, in the country, made their own cloth. We now frequently see the spinning wheel, or the hand loom as relics of early times. Most cloths were imported. In the early part of 1800 full length pants were introduced and were thought to be vulgar, Lord Wellington being one to first adopt them in place of knee breeches. He was asked to change his attire on one occasion as vulgar.